GAFFNEY — For the past four days four lineworkers from Broad River Electric Cooperative have been in Moncks Corner working to help with restoration and reconstruction efforts needed after Hurricane Matthew swept through the area Saturday.
In a statement released this past weekend, BREC announced that lineworkers Tyler Gibson, Steve Adams, Jacob Snapp, and Lee Yarborough took two bucket trucks and a digger truck with them to join other crews to assist Berkeley Electric, the state’s largest cooperative, which saw half of its system lose power because of the hurricane.
The press release further states that some members of the BREC team are not strangers to helping out in such times of need. It states that Gibson, Adams and Yarborough most recently were dispatched to Aiken Electric after a 2014 winter storm caused extensive damage to that system. It further states that the trip to Moncks Corner is Yarborough’s sixth such trip, going back to when he was a part-time employee and was sent to neighboring York Electric after Hurricane Hugo. For Snapp, who has been with the cooperative for just a year, it’s his first time working outside of the Broad River Electric system.
“The commitment that these men make is tremendous,” said BREC President and CEO Terry Mallard. “They’ve been restoring outages here all weekend and now they are headed down to Berkeley to help their members.”
Mallard added that “we are fortunate to have not really been affected by the hurricane, but we also know that if we needed it, the state’s other cooperatives would come to our aid as well.”
The press release states that as of Saturday night, 292,000 outages were affecting nearly 40 percent of the entire cooperative distribution system. In addition to crews from local cooperatives, lineworkers from Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia are also in the Palmetto State to help make repairs.
BREC Community Development Manager Josh Crotzer said Monday that of the outages affecting the cooperative distribution system in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, approximately 50,000 were on the Berkeley Electric system. As of Monday morning, however, Crotzer said that thanks to the efforts of the lineworkers — including the four dispatched by the BREC — working to repair the damage and restore service in the areas affected by the storm, the number outages had fallen to approximately 25,000.
While the storm did not impact the BREC system — which includes Union County — to the extent it did the Berkeley Electric system, there nevertheless were some outages. Crotzer said the BREC system experienced a total of approximately 1,000 outages caused by the storm. He said this was a cumulative number as the outages were scattered occurring in different areas at different times.
Crotzer said BREC addressed these outages before sending four of it linemen to Moncks Corner. He said that while BREC is always willing to assist its fellow electric cooperatives in times of need, its first priority is its members in its service area. Crotzer said that only after the outages on its system were addressed, did the BREC decide to send the four linemen and the equipment they took with them. He said that it is not known when the four will be returning from Moncks Corner, but it is expected that they will be there for a while helping finish repairing and restoring the system.
Crotzer announced Tuesday that four more lineworkers have been dispatched by BREC to assist in repair and restoration efforts. These lineworkers, however, were dispatched Monday to Tri-County Electric Cooperative which Crotzer said have over 9,000 outages at the time of their departure. He said that Tri-County serves Richland, Orangeburg, and Calhoun counties.
Broad River Electric Cooperative is one of 20 not-for-profit, member-owned electric co-ops in South Carolina. From our headquarters in Gaffney, SC, we serve approximately 18,000 homes and businesses over 2,600 miles of power lines in Cherokee, Spartanburg, Union, and Newberry counties in South Carolina and portions of Cleveland, Polk, and Rutherford counties in North Carolina.