Covington Electric Cooperative crews, along with assisting contract crews and crews from other electric cooperatives, are diligently working to restore power as safely and quickly as humanly possible. The plan is to get power back on to the most people in the shortest amount of time. Crews have been working since shortly after midnight when power outages were first reported.
First, service will be re-established to the main distribution lines. Then repair crews go neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street, and home by home restoring service. This is very time consuming and requires patience and understanding on the part of the members. Your cooperation is critical to the success of the electrical restoration process.
At one point during the severe weather outbreak, CEC had more than 9,000 members without power and every county served by the cooperative was impacted. This is roughly half the CEC service territory. Straight-line winds caused hundreds of trees to fall over or snap, and damage from one or more tornados caused major damage to homes and some of the CEC infrastructure in Covington County.
“Our priority is to restore power as quickly and safely as possible for the members of Covington Electric Co-op,” says Ed Short, CEC General Manager. Utilizing the cooperation among cooperatives principle, CEC is receiving help from unaffected cooperatives including CHELCO, West Florida and Escambia River according to Short. “Cooperatives always help one another during natural disasters and it’s reassuring to know we have highly qualified personnel to assist us during times of need,” says Short. “We also have contract crews from Lee Electric, Harper Electric, Asplundh and HTC who began assisting us almost immediately last night and we are very thankful for their help,” he added.
Electric cooperative officials remind people to always stay away from downed or sagging power lines. All downed power lines should be treated as if they were energized and potentially deadly. People seeing a downed power line should stay away from it and report it to the local electric cooperative or 911.
Generator safety is also a major concern during prolonged power outages. “We urge people to always carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions for using a portable generator. Improper use of a generator can be deadly to the homeowner and to the people restoring your power. CEC has posted generator safety tips online through its Facebook page and website covington.coop,” says Short.
The CEC lobbies and drive thru windows remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the co-op is answering calls and line crews will continue to work until power is restored to all homes that can take power.