Berkeley Electric, SCE&G restore all outages Thursday

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - As the winter weather storm moved through the Lowcountry, leaving ice behind, many people are spending the winter storm without power.

By Thursday afternoon, all of the outages across the three electrical networks that cover the Lowcountry were up and running with no reported outages.

As of 8:30 a.m. Thursday, SCE&G has about 56 customers without power in Charleston and Orangeburg. Berkeley Electric is reporting 306 outages in the tricounty area.

According to South Carolina Electric & Gas, there were more than 5,600 customers without power as Tuesday ended and Wednesday began. That number has fluctuated by thousands overnight.

By 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, the outages were down to 2,700 customers.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday the number of outages dropped by almost half from just an hour earlier. And as the afternoon wore on, life came close to returning to normal. At 3:30 p.m., there were only 800 customers without power.

At 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, power crews had repaired a major outage in Goose Creek, but there were several other outages that stretched down the interstate and into the peninsula. There were several outages by the airport and the Naval Weapons Station.{}

Outages south of the city extend Edisto Island and the Ace Basin Parkway.

As the sun began to set, only 274 customers on the SCE&G system were without power. There were still 1,700 customers without power on the Berkeley Electric system.

Jasper County also popped up on the map with more that 600 customers without power at a check around 1:30 a.m. By 5 a.m., a series of outages in Beaufort County added another 800 affected customers.{}

Headed north, the outages cover much Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms. Officials on the Isle are reported transformers sparking under the heavy load of the power grid.

For Berkeley Electric, many of the outages follow along Highway 17 from Mount Pleasant to Awendaw. The bulk of the outages are in Awendaw and the Commonwealth area. {}

The network as a whole had 925 outages listed on its website at 11 p.m. Wednesday. There are several other outages in Ravenel and along Highway 165. As the night wore on, more outages cropped up south of Charleston in the area of Kiawah Island and along Savannah Highway.

"Ice is far more problematic than snow for electric utilities," said Todd Carter, vice president of loss control and training at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina Inc., the state association of member-owned cooperatives.

The association coordinates assistance between cooperatives when electric service interruptions occur over large areas.

"The ice weighs down limbs, which can fall onto power lines and cause them to break. Sometimes, if there's tremendous ice levels, the weight can threaten the power lines directly," said Carter.

Power crews from Fairfield Electric Cooperative, Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative and Newberry Electric Cooperative have been dispatched to assist Berkeley with power restoration efforts. Berkeley predicts that all power will be restored Wednesday.

"It appears to be less than expected and it's primarily along the coast as opposed to inland," said Eddie McKnight, spokesman for Berkeley Electric Cooperative. "We serve a lot of rural areas where there's a lot of miles of lines and a lot of trees. Actually, most of the damage has been on the coast in the Ravenel area and up north toward Awendaw and McClellanville."

Berkeley Electric crews were working all night, he said. Officials said it could take all day to restore power for customers.

So far, Santee Cooper has fared the best and is reporting no outages on its network.{}

In Georgetown, there were a few small power outages overnight, but crews worked around the clock to restore power to homes.

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.

Here are the largest ice and snow amounts from each of South Carolina's 46 counties as reported to the National Weather Service. Jasper County did not have any reports.

CountyLocationAmount in inchesSnowCalhounSandy Run4MarlboroBennettsville4ChesterfieldPageland3.5RichlandIrmo3.3DillonDillon3OrangeburgOrangeburg3EdgefieldEdgefield3KershawLugoff3LexingtonPelion3WilliamsburgCades3OconeeSalem2.8AikenAiken2.5DarlingtonHartsville2.5GreenwoodHodges2.5LeeBishopville2.5SaludaMonetta2.5LancasterKershaw2.3BarnwellBarnwell2FairfieldWinnsboro2FlorenceFlorence2LaurensJoanna2LexingtonSwansea2MarionNichols2McCormickMcCormick2PickensClemson2SumterSumter2YorkYork2AndersonBelton1.5ChesterChester1.5NewberryNewberry1.5GreenvilleGreenville1.3SpartanburgBoiling Springs1.3UnionUnion1.3AbbevilleAbbeville1AllendaleSeigling1CherokeeGaffney0.5{}IceCountyLocationAmount in inchesColletonWalterboro1ClarendonSummerton0.75BambergBamberg0.5BerkeleyCross0.5DorchesterSummerville0.5GeorgetownHemingway0.5HorryGarden City0.5CharlestonNorth Charleston0.3BeaufortPort Royal0.25HamptonHampton0.25