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Widespread outages continue into 4th day across SC

Posted: Updated:
4 p.m. outage map for SCE&G 4 p.m. outage map for SCE&G
9:30 a.m. Thursday outages on Berkeley Electric. 9:30 a.m. Thursday outages on Berkeley Electric.
Berkeley Electric outages early Friday morning. Berkeley Electric outages early Friday morning.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- As ice accumulated around the state, especially in the Upstate and Midlands, electric company crews fought to keep the lights on. Even though crews worked through the night to restore power, there are still hundreds of thousands of people without power. 

Officials said early Friday morning that restoration efforts could last into the next week. 

By Saturday morning, the outages reported for SCE&G, Berkeley Electric, and Santee Cooper totaled 61,000, a drop of about 40,000 from 24 hours earlier.

SCE&G currently has about 47,500 customers without power across its network. Berkeley Electric Cooperative has more than 12,000 customers without power. Santee Cooper is working to restore power to the homes of more than 1,200 customers.

Many drivers in Berkeley County were searching for places to full up their gas tanks but many of the stations were closed.

"I've stopped at three gas stations now and there's nothing. Everything is closed," said one driver.

"Right now, I'm out of fuel trying to figure out where I'm going to get some fuel from," said another.

Late Thursday night, there were still more than 100,000 customers without power, but crews worked through the night to restore power. Across the state, there were as many as 340,000 customers without power across the state, said the governor's office.

By Saturday morning, SCE&G customers made up more than 47,000 of those outages. The company had restored power to more than 75,000 customers between Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning. 

SCE&G said Thursday that most of its outages were in rural areas, so the company was moving most of its crews outside the cities to work on restoring power.

More than 12,000 of the outages were Berkeley Electric Cooperative customers. Most of the outages make a ring around Lake Marion.

Officials with the cooperative said it could be days before power is restored. Outages started popping up but stayed minor until early Wednesday morning when a major outage hit Berkeley Electric Cooperative. 

Santee Cooper currently shows outages have dwindled to 1,200 customers, stretching around the north side of Lake Moultrie, from Georgetown to Myrtle Beach and Little River, and then from Conway to Taber City. 

In Dorchester County, officials said people can begin calling in downed trees on secondary roads at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Damage assessment teams will be deployed across the county.  The Call Center number is 843-832-0393.  

Electric Co-ops across the state are still reporting 137,000 outages. In the Lowcountry, Palmetto Electric is reporting 1,200 outages; Santee Electric is reporting 38,000 outages; and Edisto Electric is reporting 10,000 outages.

About 350,000 customers were without power across the state Thursday evening. The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina reported 137,000 customers without power and Duke Energy reported about 95,000 customers without service.

The National Weather Service reported an inch of ice starting in Barnwell County and heading east through Bamberg and Orangeburg counties and into Colleton, Dorchester and Berkeley counties. Areas along Interstate 95 from Florence north also were hit hard.

Temperatures were rising above freezing, but a full thaw isn't expected until Friday.

To report a power outage to SCE&G, call 1-888-333-4465.
To report outages to Berkeley Electric Co-operative, call 1-888-253-4232. 
And to report outages on the Santee Cooper system, call 1-888-769-7688.

Tips for coping with blackouts

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division said in a release Tuesday night they are expecting additional outages across the state.

Below are some tips for you if you lose power:

  • Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume any downed power line you see if live and stay away. Report the downed lines to your power company.
  • Use caution with supplemental heaters and generators. Do not use household items such as cooking stoves, ovens or outdoor grills to heat your home. If you use your fireplace for heat, be sure to extinguish any flames before going to bed.
  • Do not run a generator inside your home or garage. Keep them at least 20 feet away from your home to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting.
  • Never use your oven as a source of heat.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment or electronics in use when they power went out.
  • Keep refrigerator ad freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage.
  • Keep your mobile devices charged and use the phone for emergencies only.

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