More than 197,000 electric power customers of Santee Cooper and Horry Electric Cooperative were without power as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Strong winds from Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath downed trees and electric poles, stalling power service to homes and closed businesses from Georgetown County to the North Carolina state line.
There were 150 outages to Horry Electric customers, impacting 70,822 customers as of 9:30 p.m.
197,344 Total Horry and Georgetown County customers without power as of 9:30 p.m.
Santee Cooper reported 126,533 Horry and Georgetown County customers without power as of 9:30 p.m.
Santee Cooper said more than 40 percent of its customers are without power, and is saying Hurricane Matthew has delivered the biggest hit to its transmission and distribution system since Hurricane Hugo 27 years ago. Horry Electric Cooperative has more than 90 percent of its customers without power.
Statewide, Hurricane Matthew caused extensive, widespread damage to the power systems of electric cooperatives in South Carolina. At 8 p.m. Saturday, 292,000 outages are affecting almost 40 percent of the whole co-op distribution system, according to a release from the Electrict Cooperatives of South Carolina.
The amount of damage requires more help from electric co-op crews from out-of-state. Lineworkers from Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia are in the Palmetto State to help make repairs.
“The hurricane certainly left its mark,” said Todd Carter, vice president for loss control and training at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, via press release. Carter, who was a line worker at Black River Electric in Sumter when Hurricane Hugo ripped through the state, said co-op crews encountered a multitude of challenges after the storm exited the state.
“Travel was a nightmare today,” said Carter in the release. “90 percent of a lineman’s job is getting to the job site. That was hard to do for a lot of crews today.”
The S.C. Dept. of Transportation reported more than 300 roads and nine bridge closures at 6 p.m. Saturday.