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Levels of support offered to Charlotte County residents, many to get power back this week

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 5:50 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Cases upon cases of water and boxes of meals can now be seen across Charlotte County.

Items like these have become commonplace as crews work to get power restored following two ice storms that left folks in the dark - and the support is coming from everywhere.

“I think everyone is positive, they know this has been a difficult disaster, but trying to move through it,” said Curtis Brown, Virginia Department of Emergency Management state coordinator of emergency management.

Brown says the department has dedicated charging stations, shower trailers and wellness checks to residents across the county.

“Once we started to see the power outages increase, we wanted to send additional resources to help with door-to-door outreach to check on survivors,” said Brown.

Signs at local fire stations show the support doesn’t stop there.

Local fire departments have opened their doors as warming stations for anyone in need.

Charlotte County administrator Daniel Witt says that shows the community’s resiliency.

“Saturday, a week ago we were over 90% of our residents were without power and it was devastating. We had the ice and everything like that but they have stepped up,” said Witt.

Meanwhile, Southside Electric Cooperative continues to work to get power restored.

They say their progress has been largely affected by downed trees.

“The trees fall, they fall on the line and when they would fall on the line they would pop - I mean, poles broke, cross-arms broke, wires on the ground - the whole nine yards,” said Jennifer Wall, communications specialist.

Southside Electric Cooperative says the magnitude of the two ice storms has been the main factor on restoration work. In an email to WDBJ7, they said “it is ultimately the sheer magnitude of the damage that we face, not lack of preparation, that makes the effort slower and more difficult. Thousands of trees are being cut from our approximately 8,300 miles of line and most of these trees fell from outside the right-of-way (ROW) that we legally maintain and therefore unavoidable. When you have a 30-foot ROW and have trees that exceed 100′ adjacent to the ROW, issues occur when you have icing, heavy wet snowfall or hurricane-force winds. Our ROW’s have been properly maintained and were in good shape. Our ROW budget is robust and is the number one maintenance expense for SEC.”

Late Monday afternoon, just over 1,500 county customers were without power.

SEC says they look to have 90% of their outages restored by Thursday.

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