Utilities battle power outages

Published 11:18 am Saturday, August 27, 2011

A weakened Hurricane Irene made landfall along the North Carolina coast at 7:30 a.m., but effects of the storm will intensify for Western Tidewater as the day progresses, emergency officials say.

Electrical utilities reported isolated power outages in Franklin and Southampton County as of 9:45 a.m.

Power had already been restored to all Franklin customers, said City Manager June Fleming. She said Franklin Power & Light crews are on call and will respond to outages for as long as weather permits.

The outlook was not as optimistic at Windsor-based Community Electric Cooperative.

“Weather conditions are worsening quickly and the number of outages is steadily increasing,” said spokesman Greg Cook. “Most are scattered, wind- and tree-related outages. We are currently making some restoration efforts, however, the main thrust of our restoration efforts will begin at first light Sunday morning.

“By then the winds will have subsided and crews will be able to restore service more safely and efficiently. In addition to the challenge of removing trees and rebuilding lines, traveling to damage areas will be slow and treacherous due to trees across the roadways.”