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SCE&G Answers Five Frequently Asked Hurricane Florence Questions

CAYCE, S.C. (Sept. 13, 2018) — During a news conference Thursday at SCE&G’s Metro Crew Quarters where many linemen are preparing to respond to Hurricane Florence, the utility’s President and COO Keller Kissam stressed two things to media: SCE&G is ready, and customers should be ready, too.

What is SCE&G doing to get ready for Hurricane Florence?

SCE&G is continuing to monitor the path of Hurricane Florence. SCE&G prepares year-round to make sure our people and equipment are ready to respond during the harshest weather events that our electric system might encounter. SCE&G maintains more than 18,000 miles of overhead and underground distribution lines. Year-round efforts to increase the safety and resiliency of our distribution system begin with trimming trees on thousands of miles of rights-of-way in anticipation of severe weather events. Also, SCE&G has inspected 490,294 poles, 71,943 pads, and 19,287 miles of line from 2009 to 2017. We have replaced 34,316 poles in same time period. In addition, SCE&G maintains more than 3,500 miles of above ground transmission lines, and approximately 20 miles of underground, each with individual challenges. SCE&G has worked to rebuild and strengthen approximately more than one-third of our transmission system, in many cases replacing wooden poles with steel, and adding 541 miles of new circuit wire. SCE&G has approximately 3,000 contract crews and company employees on standby for restoration efforts.

What should SCE&G customers do to get ready for Hurricane Florence?

SCE&G wants customers to know that the quickest and most efficient way to notify the company of a power outage is to report it online using a mobile device. Report outages on the mobile-friendly website, sceg.com, or register a mobile device to have the option to report or check the status of an outage through text messaging. Once a phone is registered, customers can simply text the word “Out” to 467234 (GOSCEG) anytime they lose power. Customers can check the status of an outage by texting “Status” to the same number.

Also, natural gas customers should know it is not necessary to turn off natural gas service at the meter during a hurricane. Natural gas is distributed through underground lines that should operate uninterrupted throughout the storm. However, if a customer believes flooding could cause the pilot light of a natural gas appliance to be extinguished, they can turn off the appliance’s supply valve. If the appliance’s supply valve is turned off, or if an appliance becomes flooded, customers should not try to relight the pilot light themselves; instead, contact a qualified contractor to inspect the appliance before using it.

What is SCE&G doing to manage lake levels?

SCE&G has increased power generation at the Saluda Hydro facility to full load in order to lower the level of Lake Murray in preparation for heavy rainfall that Hurricane Florence is expected to bring. Operating the facility at full power will make additional room for rain and runoff. With these controlled measures, lake levels have already dropped by about 12 inches since Sept. 11. At this time, SCE&G has no plans to open any of the spillway gates at Lake Murray. SCE&G will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary based on the weather forecasts.

How extensive will outages be?

As Kissam said during the news conference, “You don’t know what you’re dealing with until you enter the ring and get popped in the face.” It’s too soon to determine the volume and duration of outages, but there will be outages, and some may be prolonged or recurring as feeder bands come through. Crews will begin responding as soon as it’s safe to do so. SCE&G appreciates the patience of customers.

What is the restoration process like?

SCE&G assesses and repairs damage to larger transmission towers, power lines, and substations first to return power to as many people as quickly as possible. SCE&G also clears obstructions and repairs primary distribution poles and power lines. Additionally, crews inspect and repair secondary service drops in residential neighborhoods. Human-needs facilities such as hospitals are a top priority in the restoration process.

About SCE&G

South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 727,000 customers in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 373,000 customers throughout the state.