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May 25, 2006, Columbia, SC – The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the busiest on record with 28 named storms. This year, forecasters predict another busy season with 13 to 16 named storms, including 8 to 10 hurricanes. Should a hurricane strike the South Carolina coast in 2006, SCE&G crews are fully prepared to respond quickly and effectively.
Each year SCE&G trains a core group of employees to perform specialized storm duties should a hurricane or other severe storm hit somewhere in the company’s service area. Approximately 1,500 SCE&G employees have been trained in preparation for the current storm season.
“Whether it’s repairing lines and poles or making arrangements for material, fuel and other important logistics, we work hard to ensure our employees respond safely and effectively during a major restoration effort,” said Stacy Shuler, SCE&G’s system coordinator for storms and emergencies.
“Our emergency response manual is recognized as one of the best and most detailed in the industry and it has served us well when facing storms in the past. But no matter how good your plan is, you’ve got to have dedicated and well-trained employees to make it work. We’ve proven through the years that those ingredients are in place.”
In the event of a severe hurricane, SCE&G implements its highest emergency classification - Storm Condition 1. In declaring this emergency classification, SCE&G places materials, equipment and personnel in key staging areas so they can begin restoration efforts immediately following a storm. The company also reassigns employees from administration areas to roles that directly support the restoration effort. The last time the company entered Storm Condition 1 was in 2004 when Hurricane Gaston swept along the South Carolina coast.
“A primary part of our training and preparation focuses on the health and safety of our customers and employees,” Shuler said. “This is a top priority for us whether we’re dealing with a small thunderstorm or a Category 4 hurricane.”
Following a major storm, information about outages and SCE&G’s restoration efforts will be available on the company’s Web site at www.sceg.com. The company also offers its customers the following safety tips:
• Stay alert to storm advisories and evacuate if told to do so.
• Map out your route using roads specified by local and/or state authorities.
• Have flashlights and fresh batteries on hand.
• Turn off and unplug stereos, televisions, computers and other appliances when a storm is imminent.
• Do not attempt to connect a generator to your home’s main circuit; instead, plug appliances directly into the generator.
• If you see a downed power line, do not touch it. Contact your local SCE&G office immediately.
• Never try to remove a tree limb or any object that is in contact with a power line. Call SCE&G immediately for help.
• Don’t open refrigerators or freezers during an outage unless absolutely necessary. Repeated openings cause the cold air to escape and food to thaw more quickly.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 613,000 customers in 24 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 294,000 customers in 34 counties in the state. Information about SCE&G is available on the company’s web site at www.sceg.com.