SUPPLY, N.C. (Sept.13, 2018) – Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation (BEMC) is bracing for the wind and water that Hurricane Florence brings, and is aware that the potential flooding may ultimately present its biggest problem. Flooding rainfall and an extreme storm surge will be a challenge as they saturate the ground, weaken poles and bring down power lines in the electric cooperative’s southeastern North Carolina service area.
“Our experienced and highly-trained employees and contractors are geared up to access and repair outages on BEMC’s 6,700 miles of line, more than half of which is buried underground,” said Heather Holbrook, BEMC spokesperson. “Approximately 80 additional crews are due to arrive now and in the days ahead, and BEMC expects more crews, bucket trucks and equipment to be deployed, depending on the location of the greatest damage.”
The National Weather Service calls for a 7-9 foot storm surge in addition to 25 or more inches of rain that could impact many of the distribution cooperative’s 46 substations and delivery points. There are approximately 97,000 meter locations in the BEMC system, which serves Brunswick, Columbus and parts of Robeson and Bladen counties.
“Storm season brings out the best in all our employees,” said Holbrook. “From the linemen and crews out in the field to the engineers and management team who use our Advanced Metering Infrastructure to closely monitor transmission and distribution systems, our focus will be to get power back on as quickly and safely as possible. During Hurricane Matthew, many roads throughout the co-op’s 1,500 square mile service territory were washed out, flooded, and littered with fallen trees which added a level of difficulty in the restoration process. Complex repairs were made in remote areas sometimes surrounded by up to 8 feet of flood water. Our guys are ready for this one, too.”
Today there are warnings of extreme flooding rains as Florence comes ashore. Extended outages often occur with slow-moving storms, and the more than 76,000 member-owners on BEMC lines should be prepared for the possibility of prolonged outages that could last several days.
“We thank our members in advance for their patience,” said Don Hughes, General Manager/CEO of BEMC, the second largest electric co-op in N.C. “We are prepared to have crews on the job 24 hours a day until we have successfully restored power to every member. We’ll get the job done safely, no matter what it takes.”
Go to www.bemc.org to follow Brunswick Electric’s outage map and call (800) 682-5309 to report a BEMC outage. Follow Brunswick Electric on Facebook and Twitter for real time updates throughout the storm.
BEMC is a locally owned and operated not-for-profit corporation. It is the second largest electric cooperative in North Carolina and serves nearly 97,000 member locations in Brunswick, Columbus, and parts of Bladen and Robeson counties. Founded in 1939, BEMC has a longstanding commitment to the communities it serves, providing support for a wide variety of activities that contribute to the quality of life for all citizens.