Updated: REC Expects Power Restoration by Friday

Update August 30, 2011 3:30 pm EST – Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) projects hurricane restoration work will be complete for the majority of members by Friday evening.  With the extensive inspections and assessment by crews in the field, a restoration estimate has now been declared. Based on the collective information gathered, REC estimates power will be restored as follows:

  • West side of I-95 by Tuesday evening in Caroline, Hanover, Louisa and Spotsylvania
  • East side of I-95 by Friday evening for the majority of our members in Caroline, Essex, King William and King and Queen  due to the greater storm damage in this part of REC’s service territory

Power has been restored to over 70 percent of those members impacted by Hurricane Irene. At the height of the storm, over 29,000 of our members had lost service. Facing extensive and complicated repairs, crews will continue working day and night in the restoration effort until all power is restored.

REC doubled its field work force with assistance from Cooperatives in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.   Fallen trees and heavy debris have impacted the travel of crews in reaching worksites to repair broken poles, lines and equipment in the hurricane damaged area of our service territory.

“For times like these, Cooperatives have a strong, mutual aid agreement for helping one another. This storm has certainly caused us to call upon others for assistance,” said Ricky Bywaters, REC’s Bowling Green district manager. “With the additional reinforcements, we will continue working until we have restored power to all members.”

Safety is always a primary focus of REC. Maxie Rozell, REC’s director of safety and security says, “With so many members relying on a portable electric generator, please make sure it is not connected directly to household wiring. Power from generators can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs.”


Update August 29, 2011 6:30 am EST –  As of 6:30 a.m., approximately 10,000 Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) members (mostly in Caroline, King William, Essex, and King and Queen counties) are still without power. Over 65 percent of those who lost power as a result of the storm have had their service restored.

REC crews, contractors and teams from other Cooperatives, complete with all necessary trucks and equipment, are working extended hours beginning each day at 6 a.m. These workers are following a rotating schedule to complete repairs throughout the overnight hours. With the extent of damage in the Bowling Green service area, employees from REC’s Culpeper and Blue Ridge districts have joined forces to increase restoration efforts.

“As part of its storm preparation, REC requested reinforcements from other cooperatives in the event they were needed,” said Ricky Bywaters, REC’s Bowling Green district manager. “Once their systems were out of the storm’s path, crews from Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky electric cooperatives were released to assist REC. They have joined REC crews working around the clock.”

Significant progress has been made in restoring power throughout REC’s service area. The storm caused an excessive amount of broken poles and cross arms, downed lines and damaged equipment in the Cooperative’s hardest hit areas. REC serves just around nine members per mile of line. The damage and travel time of crews to make repairs from one location to the next further extends restoration times.

“Conditions are very hazardous for our crews but also for some of our members,” said Maxie Rozell, REC’s director of safety and security. “If any conditions have not been reported to us, please call as soon as possible so that repairs can be scheduled. Safety is a top priority for everyone as we continue our restoration work.”


2:30 pm Update: As of 1 p.m. approximately 21,000 Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) members (mostly in Caroline, Hanover, King William, Essex, Spotsylvania, King and Queen, and Louisa counties) remain without power. Crews have completed their initial assessment of damage throughout the service area, and that damage includes broken poles, broken cross arms and downed power lines. As restoration work continues workers are finding additional damage.

“High winds and heavy rain resulted in damage to our lines and poles,” said Ricky Bywaters, REC’s Bowling Green district manager. “We have the necessary manpower and equipment deployed to ensure service is restored as quickly and safely as possible. The heavy, sustained winds caused many hazards for our line crews that are hidden by fallen trees. The public should take the proper precautions if they come across a dangerous situation.”

REC is receiving restoration assistance from contractors and Virginia Cooperatives. Additional crews from cooperatives in Tennessee and Kentucky will be arriving this evening.

6:00 am EST: As of 6 a.m. approximately 26,000 Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) members mostly in Caroline, Hanover, King William, Essex, Spotsylvania, King and Queen and Louisa counties are without power. Crews have already been dispatched and are beginning full restoration efforts after assessing the storm impact throughout the night. Due to the extent of damage in these areas, members should plan on the possibility of being without electricity for several days.

Only six outages were reported in Clarke County, Virginia as of 7:00am Sunday, however, REC reported difficulties with its reporting system on Saturday making the number of reported Clarke outages possibly incorrect.

“We are focused on getting the lights back on for our members as quickly as possible while maintaining the safety of our members and safety of our employees,” said Ricky Bywaters, REC’s Bowling Green district manager. “We urge our members to make plans for how they will stay safe and deal with an extended outage.”

Downed power lines and trees touching the lines are extremely dangerous. Stay away from downed lines and any object in contact with the line. Report the situation to REC or your local 911 center and keep others away from the line. Outages can be reported to REC at 1-800-552-3904.