As you and most of your readers may be aware, Virginia has not seen a significant snow in October since 1979. The snow that fell this past Friday and Saturday had a major effect on the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) distribution system, causing outages to more than 20,000 of our member/owners throughout our service territory.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone affiliated with SVEC – members, employees, crews from sister cooperatives, and contractors – who were affected by the unusual October snow. We have many parties with whom to express gratitude following their efforts after the storm, but I must start with the most important group, our member/owners. Their patience and resilience through this situation has been remarkable. Having such understanding and supportive members makes the tireless work that was done by our employees, crews from other cooperatives, and contractors less difficult, even with a challenge such as this.
Prior to the actual event, SVEC had established a plan of action for addressing the potential damages caused by the storm and sought to encourage our members to be prepared for possible extended electric service disruptions. When the wet snow weighed down foliage still on the trees, breaking and snapping the limbs and branches and landing on lines, a large number of outages occurred.
With the predicted severity of storm, SVEC had also made arrangements for assistance from sister cooperatives. As is the premise behind cooperation among cooperatives, when there is a need for assistance, fellow co-ops answer the call. In this instance, SVEC received help from six sister cooperatives, including A & N Electric Cooperative, BARC Electric Cooperative, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, Community Electric Cooperative, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, and Southside Electric Cooperative. In addition, SVEC employed the help of two contractors, the Asplundh Tree Expert Company and Davis H. Elliot. In total over 200 men and women assisted in the restoration efforts.
With an event that turned out to be of this magnitude, having skilled and dedicated workers helping to get the power restored as quickly and safely as possible was an invaluable asset for SVEC members and employees, one for which we are deeply grateful. I humbly extend my most sincere, “Thanks!” for each and every member of all crews and teams who helped restore electric service to the members of SVEC.
You made a difference for each of our members who were affected by the storm and your hard work and dedication is much appreciated by each of us at SVEC.
Myron D. Rummel
Editor’s Note: The Cooperative serves parts of eight counties in Virginia (Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren) and the City of Winchester.