The area’s latest ice storm was felt in the form of power outages that multiplied around Horry County throughout Wednesday, as crews from Santee Cooper and Horry Electric Cooperative worked to repair the damage.
More than 37,500 customers in Horry and Georgetown counties had lost power by Wednesday afternoon, with crews busy responding to fallen trees and lines.
“It’s going to be a tree on a line, a limb on a line, and crews are out there working until everybody’s back on,” Horry Electric spokeswoman Penelope Hinson said about mid-day Wednesday.
Santee Cooper spokeswoman Mollie Gore said crews were prepared for any refreezing should temperatures dip below freezing overnight and cause problems Thursday.
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By about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Horry Electric had 1,377 members without power, with outages located north between S.C. 917 and S.C. 9, and in areas southeast of Conway between U.S. 378 and U.S. 701. By 3 p.m., however, that number had grown to more than 17,500 members without power.
“It’s getting ugly out there,” Hinson posted on Horry Electric’s Facebook page and asked members to be patient and to report all outages by using the cooperative’s PowerTouch system at 369-2212.
Horry Electric was not the only cooperative fighting problems from the storm. At least 100,000 electric cooperative consumers statewide did not have power by about 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to Mark Quinn with the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. Quinn said the cooperative with the most outages was Moncks Corner’s Berkeley Electric, which by midday had logged more than 27,000 of its members without electricity.
Santee Cooper was seeing most of its early problems in Horry County in the Conway and North Myrtle Beach areas, Gore said, but by 2 p.m., problems had spread along the Grand Strand. The utility reported more than 20,000 outages in the county, including nearly 7,932 in the Garden City Beach area, 3,285 around Conway, 2,622 in Myrtle Beach and 1,603 in North Myrtle Beach. Santee Cooper had more than 25,000 outages when including other areas outside Horry County.
Santee Cooper and Horry Electric were handling the outages with their own crews, although Hinson said Horry Electric had a contract crew on standby that it had not had to activate.
Outages can be tracked for both utilities at their websites, www.santeecooper.com/stormcenter and www.horryelectric.com.
Gore said Santee Cooper customers can report outages on the website or can call toll free at 888-769-7688.
Horry Electric customers can call the PowerTouch number, and Hinson said updates are posted on its Facebook page. She said calling that number puts the caller in the system, and they will receive a later call to verify that power has been restored. She said it makes the courtesy calls because sometimes power can be restored on a line, but there is something in the home preventing power to come on at that location.