Cold weather causes power outages, rolling blackouts across region

By Andy Owens
aowens@scbiznews.com
Published Jan. 7, 2013

Below freezing temperatures have caused thousands of power outages across the lower half of South Carolina for S.C. Electric & Gas Co. customers and prompted the utility to deploy rolling blackouts.

SCE&G said cold weather in its service area was causing high demand early this morning. The utility company said that weather-driven mechanical issues at several of its power plants caused it to lose electric generating capacity.

To report outages

Utility companies suggest alerting them about power outages even if you think they are aware of the situation near your business or neighborhood. From these links, you also can check the status of your electricity online.

SCE&G customers

Online: sceg.com/storm
Mobile device: sceg.com/mobile
Phone: 1-888-333-4465

Santee Cooper customers

Online: http://tinyurl.com/nflc3td
Phone: 1-888-769-7688

“In order to protect the stability of the electric system and to continue to meet customers’ needs, SCE&G has implemented rolling blackouts throughout its service territory,” SCE&G said in a news release.

The company said customers in some areas could experience brief periods without power, but the outages should only last about 15 minutes. The utility recommends customers unplug nonessential appliances to conserve energy, as SCE&G tries to meet demand.

Santee Cooper had 100 to 200 customers without electricity at one point Monday night, said Corporate Communications Manager Mollie Gore, but the state-owned utility was able to mitigate it by adjusting customers on curtailable contracts. Today only about six customers in the Myrtle Beach area were without power, she said.

“So we’re doing okay right now, but it’s cold out there,” she said. “We had problems with one of our plants last night but were able to manage it.”

SCE&G has an online map showing where power outages are occurring, which also allows customers to report power outages online, by phone or text message.

As of 10:30 this morning, 18,114 customers were without power in Charleston County, 5,700 customers were without power in Dorchester County and 220 were without electricity in Berkeley County, SCE&G’s online map shows.

“This is a dynamic situation, and SCE&G will continue to manage this situation so that its customers are minimally affected,” the company said in a statement. “Other utilities up and down the East Coast are experiencing similar situations.”

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