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800 had power restored Monday; 1,512 remain out

The slow work of restoring power to Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) customers continued with more than 900 workers in the field Monday as the coop cut the number of people without power by approximately 4,000 customers.

The number of people without power in Lunenburg is down to 1,512 compared to 2,312 on Monday. In Charlotte County the number dropped by more than a thousand from 1,712 on Monday to 646 today. Prince Edward customers without power was reduced from 877 Monday to 521 Tuesday morning.

Following a small protest of customers at its Crewe headquarters Monday,  SEC CEO Jeff Edwards released a statement concerning the issues the cooperative has had restoring power over the past 10 days.

“Power restoration efforts are complex. There is no way around that fact,”  Edwards said. “Individual poles must be dragged hundreds of feet into muddy terrain to be set by hand. This work is dangerous even in the best of conditions, and the wet weather we continue to see has made for extremely hazardous conditions. We know these conditions are dangerous for you as you try to maintain normal life without power. Our hearts break for you because we truly know what you are facing. We want to assure you that we are working as hard and fast as we can, but safety always must come first.

“We are focused on the task at hand — restoring your power. We know there are issues that need to be addressed and discussed with our members. We will have a frank and transparent discussion as soon as the lights are back on. Thank you for your patience and prayers for the safety of our line crew.”

SEC made some progress overnight. An 8 p.m. update from the cooperative said 9,257 customers were without power. That number was reduced to 7,026 by 8 a.m.

An update on Facebook from SEC said the cooperative has replaced 340 of 625 broken poles. SEC typically replaces 500 poles in a year.