Black Warrior Electric Sends Crews to North Carolina To Help Restore Power in Wake of Hurricane Florence
DEMOPOLIS, Ala. – Black Warrior Electric Membership Corp. is sending manpower and equipment to North Carolina to help utilities there restore electricity in the wake of Hurricane Florence, which knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses.
Black Warrior crews left early Friday morning for Rockingham, N.C., just as the storm came ashore at Wilmington and began its slow move across the state, dumping record levels of rain and causing catastrophic flooding. The crews consisted of 10 linesmen and five trucks, including three bucket trucks. They will be assisting Pee Dee Electric in the south central part of the state.
“This storm obviously is devastating for residents of North Carolina, and it places a tremendous burden on all public services, especially utilities,” said Daryl Jones, manager of Black Warrior Electric. “In times like these, electric co-ops and utility companies in Alabama and other states are quick to respond because we know how critical restoring power is to helping an area. We certainly want to help in any way we can.”
Michael Barnes, who works out of Black Warrior’s Demopolis division, is foreman of the crews, which also include linesmen from Eutaw, Butler, Linden and Greensboro.
“We have two big buckets, a derrick truck, a small bucket, a pickup and a trailer full of equipment,” Barnes said. “We are going to do our best to help them out.”
After working with Pee Dee Electric, Barnes said he expects his crews to move closer to the shore to help other utilities.
Crews from 17 of Alabama’s 22 rural electric cooperatives are expected to deploy to the Carolinas, according to Alabama Rural Electric Association. The cooperatives pledged to send a total of 152 crew members. Crews from Central Alabama Electric Cooperative and Southern Pine Electric Cooperative left Thursday for North Carolina, with the other crews will leaving Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Alabama electric co-ops often send crews to other service areas and other states to help with the recovery after storms. In return, co-ops from other states come to Alabama to assist in the aftermath of storms here.
“We assist them, they assist us,” Jones. “The most important thing is to help people in need. The next time it could be us.”
In recent years, Black Warrior and other Alabama co-ops have sent crews to Florida and Georgia. Jones said he doesn’t know how long his crews could be in North Carolina, but past deployments have lasted three to four weeks.