Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative is recovering from a four-day restoration process following the impacts of Tropical Storm Zeta that affected 63% of the cooperative’s electric system, which covers 1,100 square miles and more than 5,300 miles of power lines.
With more than 32,000 Members without power at the height of the storm Thursday morning and nearly 1,000 additional outages reported throughout the day as wind gusts continued to down trees on service lines, the widespread outage event was the largest experienced since Hurricane Opal in 1995. However, with modern technology and the assistance of outside crews, power was restored to all Members within a matter of days. An event this large could have lasted weeks just ten years ago.
“To repair that amount of damage in less than a week is remarkable,” said Tommy Cook, Vice President of Operations for Carroll EMC. “Crews responded to approximately 1,000 locations with damage ranging from downed wires, blown fuses and broken poles. A total of 94 broken poles were replaced—that could be a day’s work each depending on the situation.”
Mutual aid partners and contracted crews from Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Kentucky began arriving at Carroll EMC by Wednesday evening and continued to roll in through Saturday afternoon. Additional crews arrived Sunday morning as well. Coupled with the nearly 300 in-house and assisting linemen, contractors and outside personnel working in the field, support teams in the office were operating at full capacity including engineering, system design, Member services, communications and the warehouse.
By Sunday afternoon, all storm related outages were resolved. Carroll EMC has sent a storm crew of eight linemen to assist Central Alabama Electric Cooperative who is still recovering from the impacts of Tropical Storm Zeta.
“Restoration after a storm can be very dangerous,” said Tim Martin, CEO of Carroll EMC. “I’m proud of our storm response and that everyone went home safely to their families.”