Power restored to 7,200-plus REC customers

REC’s 5:30 p.m. Monday update:

As of 5:30 pm, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) has approximately 6,300 outages across its 22-county service territory, with the most significant impact in the counties of Culpeper, Madison, Rappahannock and Fauquier. Working in adverse conditions, crews restored power to over 7,200 members today. Having performed initial damage assessment, REC expects to restore the majority of today’s outages by Tuesday night. Another storm is predicted to pass through REC’s service territory Tuesday morning. The second storm may delay restoration efforts or create additional outages, especially if wet snow accumulates on already damaged and weakened trees.

“Crews have worked since the first outages were reported late Sunday,” said Robbie Beard, REC’s Culpeper district manager. “We are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power, but are finding lots of downed wires, broken cross arms, and some broken poles – all caused by ice-laden trees falling onto lines. The repairs are time consuming, and much of the damage is difficult to access, especially due to the muddy ground conditions.”

REC is being assisted in its restoration efforts by contract line construction and right-of-way clearing crews, as well as crews from cooperatives who were not affected by the Sunday-Monday ice storm. Crews from Georgia were also in place and pre-staged on Sunday, and additional crews arrived today.

“We know power outages are a huge inconvenience, especially when it is so cold,” continued Beard. “That’s why we called in extra help before the storm arrived and are now using every tool we have – from backhoes to “bigfoot” four-wheel drive trucks to tracked, bulldozer-like bucket trucks to access and repair damage. Safety and restoring electricity remain our sole focus until everyone once again has power.”

A narrow band east of and parallel to the Blue Ridge Mountains seems to have recently become “ground zero” for winter weather in Virginia. Many of the areas most affected by this storm also suffered outages when heavy, wet snow hit the area twice in March. The Cooperative asks for the patience and understanding of its members as restoration work is completed as safely and quickly as possible.

If you, or a family member, are dependent on electricity-powered medical equipment, take steps now to seek alternative shelter or a source of backup power, as appropriate. We encourage you to check on the elderly, extremely young, and the ill.

To report a power outage, please call 800-552-3904 or visit www.myrec.coop and report your outage online using your smart phone. If the cause of the damage is evident, and you are reporting your outage by phone, please provide information concerning cause and location to the customer service representative. Callers with no additional information are encouraged to choose the automated reporting option or report an outage through the Cooperative’s website.

From Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, 6 a.m. Monday:

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s (REC) restoration efforts are under way as we assess damage and have crews working to repair broken lines and equipment from the winter storm that is producing sleet, freezing rain and snow. The Cooperative’s call center will be fully staffed around the clock until all power is restored. REC secured additional crews in advance of the storm from other Georgia Cooperatives as well as right of way contractors and line contractors to assist with outages caused by this storm.

Right-of-way crews are working to clear the path into outage-stricken areas. Much of REC’s service area is rural and difficult to access under normal conditions. The crews will also clear trees and limbs from power lines once linemen are able to reach affected areas.

Restoration work will begin in critical facilities supporting public health and safety and then power lines carrying electricity to the largest numbers of people. Crews will then move on to make repairs to power lines serving neighborhoods. Following that we will then repair damage to individual services at homes and businesses.

Today’s winter storm has just over 6,000 REC members without electricity. The storm’s precipitation has caused trees heavily laden with sleet and snow to fall onto power lines, resulting in widespread outages in many of the counties served by REC. The largest number outages are concentrated in Culpeper and Louisa counties.

For information about REC, visit myrec.coop.

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