REC prepares workforce for potential power outages from Sunday’s snowfall

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:43 PM EST
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LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - As Rappahannock Electric Cooperative finishes their restoration work from last Monday’s historic winter storm, they’re also preparing their crews for the forecast of snowfall on Sunday and the potential power outages that could come with it.

“We are at 100 percent restoration,” said Casey Hollins, managing director of communications and public relations for Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. “The last remaining outages were restored yesterday and we are very relieved to have gotten the power back on for those last few members.”

Hollins said REC is closely monitoring the forecast and will pre-stage their crews in areas where the storm will pass through.

“If we find out between now and Saturday that the storm is going to shift it’s path, we’re will be able to shift those crews to the area where it looks like the storm is going to hit hardest,” Hollins said.

This workforce includes more than 300 workers from REC and around 100 mutual aid workers from other electric co-ops. This workforce also includes contractors and right-of-way crews.

This comes more than one week after more than 98,000 homes and businesses in Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s area lost power from last Monday’s historic winter storm.

During their restoration efforts, Hollins said they discovered more than 600 broken poles.

Hollins said they have enough materials for this weekend’s snowfall and made more orders to come in before the end of the week.

As crews from Rappahannock Electric Cooperative prepare for the snow, residents, like Jennifer Shull, are also getting ready for the wintry weather.

Shull, a resident of the Town of Louisa, lost power for four days.

“It was very intense. It was all of a sudden. I’ve never seen snow fall that fast in my life.,” she said. “This is probably worst thing I’ve seen in the area in a long time in the area weather-wise.”

Shull is preparing ahead of Sunday’s snowfall.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad,” said Shull. “I’m going to keep my fingers crossed.”

Grace Kelly, who lives in Spotsylvania County, lost power for eight days as a result of last Monday’s winter storm.

“It was like a nightmare,” she said. “I had to get my daughter from Fredericksburg to come pick myself and my father up and he’s on oxygen. Electric went out and I said, ‘Oh God I got to get out of here.’”

For this weekend’s storm, Kelly said she’s staying with her family.

“I’m leaving Saturday headed to Fredericksburg,” Kelly said. “I’m not going through this again if I can help it Lord.”

Over the next two days, REC said they will also have crews continue clean-up efforts from the winter storm aftermath.

REC is also encouraging residents to plan ahead, stock up on supplies, and create a family emergency plan. This information is being shared on their online checklist to make sure their members are preparing for the storm.

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