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Power Source

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South Carolina Notable State

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Our Santee Cooper teams again have proven their dedication when it comes to keeping the lights on for our customers and for others in need. While winter storms were wreaking havoc on power systems along the East Coast, the people of St. Croix were still living without electricity because of the powerful summer hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean. Santee Cooper crews responded to both.

On Jan. 3, Winter Storm Grayson blew into South Carolina, covering the coast with ice and snow, over 7 inches in some areas. While temperatures plunged, forcing schools, state offices and many other businesses to cancel their normal routines, Santee Cooper generation crews were working overtime.

Generation faced considerable challenges because of temperatures that were below freezing for several days, and many employees stayed at generating stations to ensure coverage 24 hours a day. Employees faced, and overcame, issues including thawing frozen piping, replacing outside equipment, repairing boiler leaks, and chipping and shoveling limestone and coal-feeding equipment. In many instances, they had to think on their feet, be flexible and be innovative. It was taxing work in extreme conditions and it allowed our customers to keep their lights and heat operating.

Santee Cooper distribution crews also made sacrifices to help restore electricity to the people of St. Croix, many of whom had been without power since Sept. 6. More than half of Santee Cooper’s line technicians volunteered for the daunting job of helping reconstruct St. Croix’s power grid, and leaving their families during the holidays. Twenty six were selected, with 13 leaving Nov. 20 and returning Dec. 21, and the additional 13 leaving Dec. 20 and returning Jan. 21. One article in this issue of PowerSource chronicles our crews in St. Croix and how their efforts made a difference in the lives of the people they met.

The dedication, selflessness and determination of all of Santee Cooper’s employees amaze me each day. I am proud of them, and proud of how they are serving others.

Jim Brogdon