Disastrous winds and historic rainfall left long-lasting impacts in our community after Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 storm just south of our service area in September. The results? Devastating flooding of communities, destroyed homes and businesses and an electrical distribution system that took a beating.
When JOEMC employees arrived at the offices early Friday, September 14, to start the process of restoring electric service, they were faced with the daunting task of power restoration of close to 71,000 services (JOEMC has just over 74,000 active meters on its system). The majority of the first day was spent doing damage assessment – we were unable to start “fixing things” because Florence was still pounding our area with high winds that wouldn’t allow crews to work safely.
The damage assessment found lines down, poles broken, other electrical equipment hanging from poles and trees and many roads impassable because of debris or flooding. The assessment also revealed that 14 of JOEMC’s substations had lost the transmission feed that powers them. Translation…no matter what JOEMC did, members served by those substations wouldn’t receive power until our substations could be re-energized.
Early the next morning, Saturday, September 15, JOEMC crews, other co-op crews from Southwest Tennessee Electric Cooperative and over 305 contract crew personnel went to work. Over the next ten days our 14 substations were re-energized and crews restored power to all of those 71,000 members.
The Jones-Onslow Board of Directors and employees would like to sincerely thank our members for your patience and understanding during the restoration efforts after Hurricane Florence. We worked as diligently and safely as possible to “get the lights back on” for you. We would also like to thank you for the wonderful comments on Facebook and via email and the acts of kindness you showed crews while they were in the field restoring power. Those selfless actions that our members displayed meant a lot to us and truly shows what being a part of an electric cooperative is all about!