UPDATE: SMECO Restores Power in Wake of Storm

March 15, 2017

UPDATE 3/15/2017 @ 6:00 p.m.: Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) has been working to restore service to customers affected by the storm that began causing outages early Tuesday morning.

“SMECO had about 1,800 customers without power last night and that number was whittled down to 450 at 11 a.m. today. Crews have been working in freezing temperatures and high winds, and we are glad to report that, as of 4:35 p.m., service was restored to all customers affected by the initial impact of the storm,” said Tom Dennison, SMECO’s government and public affairs managing director.

“Unfortunately, new outages continue to be reported as more trees and limbs fell on power lines today,” Dennison added. Hundreds of limbs and trees fell this week when sleet and ice blanketed portions of Southern Maryland. The ice fell as part of a major storm system that dumped up to two feet of snow in areas farther north. In SMECO’s service area, many trees fell on power lines, utility poles broke, and transformers were blown, causing thousands of outages.

SMECO features an outage map on its website that shows where outages occur, the number of incidents, and the number of customers without power. Dennison explained, “At about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the outage map showed that SMECO had about 14,000 customers without power, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story. We’ve actually had more than 44,800 customers affected by power outages at some point since the storm started. As we worked to restore power, new outages would occur, so it appeared as though we weren’t making much headway.”

According to SMECO, hundreds of incidents were logged in its outage management system. An incident is something that causes an outage, such as a tree on a line, a blown transformer, an open substation feeder, or downed wire. For comparison, the derecho in 2012 caused 1,187 incidents.

SMECO crews worked with the assistance of contractors and additional crews from two sister electric co-ops to make repairs to the electric system. “The temperatures are still freezing and winds are gusting,” Dennison added. “And if more incidents occur, rest assured, our crews will respond.”

SMECO urges residents to call 1-888-440-3311 to report a downed line or a tree on a power line. Hazardous situations must be handled by professionals to prevent serious injury. Customers without power should call SMECO at 1-877-74-SMECO. Outages can also be reported using SMECO’s website (https://smeco.coop/). A free SMECO 24/7 mobile app and SMECO’s texting service are available at https://smeco.coop/services/smeco-24-7.

UPDATE 3/14/2017 @ 7:00 p.m.: Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) will continue working through Tuesday night to restore service to customers who are without power.

“SMECO had more than 14,000 outages at 10:30 a.m. today. As of 6 p.m. we have 3,800 customers without power,” said Tom Dennison, SMECO’s government and public affairs managing director. “The last repairs to be made are generally individual services, and they may take a while. They may be on back roads, and if they have multiple issues, such as trees down and blown transformers, progress will be slow.”

Icy conditions caused hundreds of limbs and trees to fall Monday night and Tuesday morning. Many of those trees fell on power lines and across roadways. Dennison continued, “As it stands, storm-related outages in Calvert and St. Mary’s County are expected to be restored tonight. The hard-hit areas in Charles and Prince George’s counties are still experiencing outages. We will have crews working through the night, and our full contingent will resume early Wednesday morning to continue repairs.”

Charles County is opening an emergency shelter tonight at 7 p.m. for residents and their pets. The shelter is located at the Department of Community Services building at 8190 Port Tobacco Road in Port Tobacco. For details, you may call 866-524-9402 to hear a recorded message.

Line crews from Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative and Choptank Electric Cooperative, and contractor crews from Pike, Sumter Utilities, Utility Line Construction, and Penn Line, were called to assist SMECO crews with repairing the electric system. The additional crews will continue to provide support until power is restored to all customers.

SMECO urges residents to call 1-888-440-3311 to report a downed line or a tree on a power line. Hazardous situations must be handled by professionals to prevent serious injury. Customers who experience a power outage may call SMECO’s automated system at 1-877-747-6326 (1-877-74-SMECO). Outages can also be reported using SMECO’s website (https://smeco.coop/). A free SMECO 24/7 mobile app and SMECO’s texting service are available at https://smeco.coop/services/smeco-24-7.

3/14/2017 @ 12:45 p.m.: Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) crews have been working to restore service to customers who have experienced power outages that began early Tuesday morning.

Tom Dennison, SMECO’s government and public affairs managing director, explained, “Ice and wind make a treacherous combination. The weight of the ice causes limbs and trees to fall on lines and across roadways. At this time, transmission lines and most feeders are operational, but, while crews are making repairs, weather conditions will continue to cause additional outages.”

Rain and sleet began Monday afternoon in Southern Maryland and continued through the evening. Wind speeds increased overnight and power outages began occurring at 3 a.m. Tuesday, March 14. The following link displays a chart that shows the number of power outages in Southern Maryland over the last 24 hours: https://www.smeco.coop/safety/prepare-for-outages.

Dennison added, “SMECO had more than 300 incidents causing about 14,000 outages as of 10:30 a.m. As of noon, some repairs have been made, and we had 6,650 customers without power. Outages are scattered throughout Southern Maryland, but the bulk of the incidents are in Charles County and northern St. Mary’s. SMECO crews, along with contractor crews from Pike, Sumter Utilities, Utility Line Construction, and Penn Line, have been working to restore power and will continue to work throughout the day today and tonight to get service restored.”

The co-op reported having 16 service trucks, 28 line crews and 10 contractor crews working. Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative is sending three crews and Choptank Electric Cooperative is sending seven service trucks to assist with power restoration. Four additional contractor crews arriving from Delaware will provide more resources.

Area residents are urged to call SMECO at 1-888-440-3311 if they see a downed line or a tree on a power line. Hazardous situations must be handled by professionals to prevent serious injury. Customers who experience a power outage may call SMECO’s automated system at 1-877-747-6326 (1-877-74-SMECO). Outages can also be reported using SMECO’s website (https://smeco.coop/). A free SMECO 24/7 mobile app and SMECO’s texting service are available at https://smeco.coop/services/smeco-24-7.


4 Responses to UPDATE: SMECO Restores Power in Wake of Storm

  1. Anonymous on March 16, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    To SMECO: We don’t want your intrusive and potentially dangerous “Smart Meters.” US Congress aren’t the only ones who know about risks of using those things. You’re also willing to put meter-readers out of jobs so you can monitor the activity of your customers? Get real.

  2. Buck_Wheaty on March 17, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Another To SMECO: Thank you for getting the power back on so quick while myself and certainly, the idiot that posted the first To SMECO sat inside our dry and warm homes.

    • Anonymous on March 20, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Says the idiot kiss a** who doesn’t deserve a home. Who’s really dumb enough to support an organization that’s willing to put people out of work for the sake of highly questionable technology? Ah..that would be you of course.

      • Anonymous on March 22, 2017 at 12:21 am

        Exactly. Who does SMECO think they are? Trying to cut costs and earn a profit. Shame on them!

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