Hurricane

More than 20,000 still without power in Beaufort County, south of Broad nearly completely restored

Electrical crews remove damaged power lines and poles and replace them on Ribaut Road on Oct. 8, 2016, fewer than 24 hours after Hurricane Matthew did significant damage to the electrical infrastructure along Ribaut Road and the rest of Beaufort County. By late afternoon, multiple crews were busy repairing what Matthew had destroyed.
Electrical crews remove damaged power lines and poles and replace them on Ribaut Road on Oct. 8, 2016, fewer than 24 hours after Hurricane Matthew did significant damage to the electrical infrastructure along Ribaut Road and the rest of Beaufort County. By late afternoon, multiple crews were busy repairing what Matthew had destroyed. jkarr@islandpacket.com

While much of the power south of the Broad River has been restored, nearly 20,000 Beaufort County residents were still in the dark Wednesday afternoon.

Palmetto Electric Cooperative reported nearly 4,400 power outages, while more than 14,000 SCE&G customers were without electricity.

SCE&G reported on its website it expects full restoration in Beaufort Counties by Oct. 16, with delays possible in Daufuskie, Fripp and Hunting islands.

Crews made up of more than 700 linemen from as far away as Oklahoma and Texas continue to work around the clock to bring power to county customers, SCE&G president of retail operations Keller Kissam said Wednesday.

Kissam apologized Wednesday to customers still without power.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I apologize for the inconvenience. My linemen, as well as myself, take it as a personal insult anytime one of our customers is without power.”

“We’ve had a very challenging week,” he said. “I don’t think our company has been challenged like this since Hurricane Hugo.”

Outages have been widespread in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, with residents from around the county — both north and south of the Broad River — reporting being without power.

Outages at Palmetto Electric and Santee Cooper electricity substations kept much of Hilton Head Island in the dark over the past several days.

However, “according to Palmetto Electric, all of the substations on (the island) have been energized by Santee Cooper,” according to an advisory posted Wednesday on the Town of Hilton Head Island website.

“So, all power has been restored to Hilton Head Island except for some scattered and isolated outages,” the advisory said.

On other barrier islands, it could be days before power is fully restored.

Kissam said SCE&G will be sending crews and equipment to remote areas of the county aboard helicopters and barges.

Crews heading to Daufuskie Island Thursday “should be able to make great progress once we get them there,” he said.

Lack of power played a major role in the Beaufort County School District’s decision to close schools for the remainder of the week, district spokesman Jim Foster said earlier this week.

There were still three schools without power as of Wednesday afternoon, down from a dozen on Monday, he said.

Hargray Communications crews also continue efforts to restore cable, phone and internet services, according to a company news release.

“As of Tuesday morning, two-thirds of Hargray’s inland customers effected by the hurricane and half of its customers on Hilton Head and other islands now have services restored,” read the release.

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