DINWIDDIE Co., Va. (WWBT) - Thousands of Dinwiddie County residents remain without power more than six days after the first ice storm wreaked havoc on power lines and trees in Central Virginia.
Many people said it has been nearly impossible trying to get ahold of someone at Southside Electric Cooperative to have them come and clear power lines across roads. Some homeowners are now taking matter into their own hands.
“Having to prop up our own power line which is unheard of, I mean it’s ridiculous - they tell you don’t touch,” said Stephanie Freeman, of Dinwiddie.
Freeman said she and her family had no choice after her calls to Southside Electric went unanswered.
“We have a pregnant daughter that at any time may need to go to the hospital, we wouldn’t be able to get her out,” she said.
Downed powerlines and trees are still common sights across many rural areas.
Generators echo across the wooded landscape as well, but problems are already rising with those pieces of equipment.
“Many people’s generators are starting to fizzle out; they’ve been running non-stop for six days now,” Freeman said.
While her home has a full-house generator, Freeman said it died Thursday morning; leaving them to use a smaller generator to power the refrigerator.
“So now this is all we have,” Freeman said. “We have gas logs to keep us warm and thankfully a gas stove.”
The Freemans, like many others including the elderly, decided to hunker down in their home.
“My parents, thankfully, did get their power back on yesterday, but my mom was sitting in a house and it was 40 degrees,” she said. “At that age, they don’t want to leave their home.”
Dinwiddie, like neighboring Nottoway and Lunenburg counties, continues to offer overnight shelter but turnout has been low.
“Well I think for one, they’re comfortable in their home,” Freeman said. “I know my parents, they live on a farm, they have animals; they can’t leave their animals and can’t bring them to the shelter.”
Data from shelter turnout for those localities is as follows:
- Daytime warming/charging centers: Averaging 100 patrons per day
- Overnight emergency shelter: One person admitted on Wednesday evening
- Daytime warming shelter: Averaging 15 patrons per day
- Overnight emergency shelter:
- Two people admitted Wednesday evening
- No one registered Thursday evening
- To register for Lunenburg’s overnight shelter, please call (434) 321-7755
- Daytime warming centers: Over the last three days there were a total of 109 patrons
- Overnight shelter: 13 patrons admitted over the last two nights (capacity for 40 people)
Meanwhile, power crews continue to race against time to get the power back on.
“We need some help; we need help to get these lines up,” Freeman said. “You can wing it a few days, this is not... it’s getting old fast.”
More help is on the way.
Southside Electric Cooperative announced Friday it will soon have nearly 800-line workers working to restore power; with extra crews coming in from across Virginia and five other states. Nearly 90 members of that force are SEC employees.
However, until her power is restored, Freeman is doing what she can to get some normalcy.
“Every five weeks I get my hair done and I was so thankful it fell today because you look a mess!” she laughed.
How to report an outage:
If your power does go out, Dominion customers should report their outages by:
- Using the Dominion Energy mobile app
- Visiting dominionenergy.com
- Calling 1-866-DOM-HELP, or 1-866-366-4357
You can view Dominion’s outage map, HERE.
Southside Electric Cooperative
Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
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