It’s been a busy couple of days for workers at Baldwin EMC. With temperatures continuing to drop going into Wednesday night, they said frozen branches over power lines may present problems for them on Thursday. But despite the freezing rain and sleet from Tuesday, they said it could’ve been much worse.
“We cannot complain with the outages. With what Mother Nature has dealt us, I think we have faired very well,” Karen Moore, vice president of energy services, said. “Not to say that we have not had any outages, but they have been manageable.”
Crews were out around the clock Tuesday and Wednesday, making sure that things stayed that way.
“We normally respond very quickly. Our crews are finding it difficult with the icy roads to respond as quickly as they would like to,” Moore said. “So they’re having to take it slow, but they’re getting there and they’re getting them back on as quickly as safely as they can.”
Moore noted that at their peak, they saw about 600 outages around 11:30, mostly in the southern part of the county. One of the trouble spots on Wednesday came just north of the Beach Express Bridge. A dozens of residents at The Columns apartment complex lost power.
“It was on and then it was off and then it came on again,” resident Carolyn Burkholder said. She decided to take her dog for a walk while she waited for power to come back.
Officials said the second outage came after they had restored most of the power. It was caused by an influx of residents cranking their heaters all at once.
“When power is restored, if they would be so kind as to wait 15 or 20 minutes to turn those heaters back on. That does help us not have an overload situation on our system,” Moore said.
And Foley residents got a chance to see a rare event called “galloping power lines.” Ice buildup and strong winds around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning caused them to whip about creating some blackouts.
“Thankfully our members have been very patient. We’ve managed to get them up, I think, in a reasonable amount of time. But when you’re cold, nothing seems reasonable. So we do appreciate their patience.”
Baldwin EMC does ask residents to restrict their use of electricity tomorrow between 6 and 10 a.m. by not using non-essential items like dishwashers and washing machines.
They also ask residents to turn their thermostat below 68 degrees.