MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – Santee Cooper crews departed today for the U.S. Virgin Islands to help restore power to the region ravaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September. Some residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas have been without power since Sept. 6.
A total of 13 Santee Cooper employees, including 12 line technicians and one mechanic, left the Myrtle Beach area this morning at 10:15 a.m. They will travel to the Port of Palm Beach to load nine Santee Cooper trucks, including bucket trucks and digger derricks, on a barge to St. Croix. Santee Cooper employees will then travel by plane to St. Croix, arriving Wednesday, Nov. 22, and work solely with their pole-climbing equipment until the trucks arrive a few days later.
“As we’ve done many times in the past, we are responding to people in need,” said Mike Poston, vice president of retail operations. “Our line technicians selflessly volunteered to leave their families over the holidays in order to help restore electricity to people on St. Croix. It says a lot about their character to do that.”
More than half of Santee Cooper’s line technicians volunteered for the daunting job. Twenty-six were selected, with 13 leaving Nov. 20 and returning Dec. 21, and the additional 13 leaving Dec. 20 and returning in late January.
“We understand what hurricanes can do to the electric system and crews will have many challenges to overcome,” said Neil James, manager of distribution operations. “Our line techs are focused on getting people’s power back on. Their hearts are in the right place and they are up to the job. I’m proud of them and proud they represent Santee Cooper.”
Santee Cooper is sending assistance as part of a mutual aid agreement. As of Nov. 13, about 83 percent of customers on St. Croix were without power, according to the U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority. Crews will be working long hours, up to 16 hours a day, seven days week while repairing poles, lines and equipment.
Traveling to St. Croix are: Crew Supervisors – Timmy Long and Larry Hall; Line Technician A – Joe Sawyer, Brooks Cribb, Blake Ward and David Causey; Line Technician B – Andol Johnson, Jamie Anderson and Matt Martin; Line Technician C – Reginal Graves, Hunter Melton and Chase Prince; and Fleet Technician A – Jerry Holt.
Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s largest power provider, largest Green Power generator and the ultimate source of electricity for 2 million people across the state. Through its low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity and water services, and through innovative partnerships and initiatives that attract and retain industry and jobs, Santee Cooper powers South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.santeecooper.com.