Covington Electric Cooperative was very fortunate to only experience scattered power outages throughout the day and evening as Hurricane Michael, a strong Category 4 hurricane, slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.
At the height of the storm’s impact in CEC’s service territory, approximately 4,465 members were without electricity. Power outages were reported in Coffee, Covington, Geneva, Dale and Crenshaw counties. CEC service crews worked the outages as they occurred throughout the storm.
“Safety is our top priority,” says Ed Short, CEC general manager. “Conditions here never got to the point where it was unsafe for our crews to work outages. The average outage time was about one hour. Some were out a little longer and some were out less. We appreciate our members’ patience and understanding as crews worked into the night to restore their power,” added Short.
CEC had contract crews staged in Covington County to assist with restoration efforts in the event Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage in our area. Fortunately, those crews were not needed here, and CEC released them this morning to assist other utilities that were severely impacted by the storm. “Our neighboring co-ops in Florida and east Alabama were hit very hard by this hurricane and it’s going to take days, if not weeks, for those systems to restore service to their members,” says Short. “Talquin Electric Co-op headquartered in Quincy, Fla., has approximately 49,000 members without electricity at this time. That’s about 99 percent of their entire system. Wiregrass Electric headquartered in Hartford, Ala., has also experienced massive damage to their infrastructure. Last night they reported 17,500 members without power and had lost transmission feeds to five of their substations. Seventy percent of their circuits were down. It’s going to take a monumental effort to get these co-ops back up and the many others severely impacted by Hurricane Michael,” adds Short.
CEC is sending a crew of lineman, along with equipment, later this morning to assist Wiregrass Electric Co-op. “Co-ops always help one another in times of need and this is definitely one of those times,” says Short.
CEC is an electric distribution cooperative that serves approximately 23,000 meters in parts of six counties including: Covington, Coffee, Geneva, Dale, Crenshaw and Escambia.