CAYCE, S.C. — As Hurricane Dorian heads closer to South Carolina, Dominion Energy is preparing for potential power outages, and encouraging others to do the same.
“We anticipate that Dorian could bring heavy rain and flooding as well as severe wind, which could cause significant outages for our customers, especially in coastal areas,” said President of Electric Operations Keller Kissam.
Kissam says Dominion preps for this type of event all year by keeping up with maintinance work on poles, hardware and system inspections. "We do that throughout the year so that we can make our system resilient," he said.
Right now, hundreds of linemen from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Florida are gathering in Cayce, SC to get ready for the hurricane.
“We have approximately 2,000 employees and contract crew members, including linemen and damage assessors, ready to respond quickly and safely to power outages should they occur. We’ve also brought in 140 off-system crew members, to support restoration efforts, and we could potentially call on several hundred more if necessary," Kissam said.
Dominion thinks it's important for people to understand that power outages could happen but they are ready to face it head on.
"Bottom line, we’re assembling an army to go out and safely and reliably restore our customer’s power," he said. "The great thing about these folks is their dedicated and accountable and they’ll remain here until the very last customer’s power is restored."
Kissam gave News19 the following tips for people to navigate outages until it's able to be restored:
1. Always have a game plan. Communication and evacuation plans are key to keeping your family and pets safe.
2. Stock up with enough water. You should have at least one gallon of water, per person, per day.
3. Store non-perishable food items. Kissem says outages can happen for days at a time, so you don't want to have to rely on food that could spoil.
4. Be mindful of the crews in your neighborhood and on the roads working. He says they usually drive in caravans and stick together.
5. If you come across flooding, turn around don't drown.
6. Stay away from downed power lines. Keep kids and pets away from them too. Kissem says to always assume a line that is down is energized.
7. Keep your candles secured and blow them out before going to bed. This can prevent a potential fire.
8. Generators, if running, must be in a well-ventilated area. He says carbon monoxide is one of the deadliest things in a storm.
9. Turn off major appliances like air conditioners, water heaters and stoves.
10. Unplug TVs, microwaves and computers to prevent damage.
11. Leave one light or lamp turned on so you will know when power is restored.
When reporting an outage, it's important to remember that the linemen will try their best to fix it as soon as possible. Kissem says this is the 6th most dangerous job in the world based on fataility rates per hours worked. Because of this, safety is always a priority during storms.
“Our linemen, as a general rule, cant get up in their buckets if the wind speeds are greater than 35 miles per hour, so that can be a limiting factor in us being able to get in there and restore service," he said. "Many of them know that their families will be left at home in the dark, cuz their power is gonna go out just like anybody else’s power may go out. They will endeavor to serve others ahead of serving themselves."
If you lose power during the storm, there are a few options to report the outage. Call (888)333-4465 or visit DominionEnergySC.com/outage. You can now register your phone number on their website to text in power outages. Dominion will even respond with information and an estimated time of power restoration.