Hurricane Q&A

Hurricane Q&A

Hurricane Q&A

South Carolina is no stranger to hurricanes, and we have a history of being battered with some rough storms that usually cause power outages. Here are commonly asked questions we get after a hurricane:

The food in my refrigerator is going bad. When will my power be restored?

Unfortunately, it is difficult to give anyone an exact time their power will be restored. If the power goes out, do your best not to open your refrigerator or freezer to help maintain your food as long as possible.

An old trick of a Carolinian is to freeze gallon jugs or bottles of water and put them in your freezer or coolers. This way, you have ice and water in one resource. If you can help it, do not stock foods that need to be refrigerated before any event that could cause you to lose power.

This means to not buy 5 gallons of ice cream as “hurricane snacks.”  Also, this is a great chance to get out the gas cooker and make a hot meal for your family, neighbors and those hard-working line technicians, and other first responders. My family would always make a big pot of bog (rice and whatever you have in the fridge, such as chicken) or soup to take to share with the community after a storm. This way you can check on elderly neighbors or those with young children.

My power lines are underground. Why is my power out?

Whether power lines are underground or overhead, there is no way to predict if your power will go out or how long it may be out. In general, overhead power lines are more likely to receive damage, but they are easier and faster to fix than underground lines. Underground power lines are more reliable, but it is sometimes difficult to find damage and may take longer to fix. All lines are connected to transmission power lines and generating stations that may be damaged during hurricanes. No generation or “big lines” means no power anywhere.

I saw some of your line technicians eating. Why are they not working to restore my power?

What you are seeing are more than likely men and women who just got off a 16-hour or longer shift of nonstop, physically and mentally demanding work to get your power on as quickly and safely as possible. They are away from their families, and their own homes may be without power, or may have damage or be flooded. They proudly do this job because they care about the well-being of our customers and serve them by providing electricity to their homes. Please let them eat. Let them rest. I promise they want to get back to restoring your power as badly as you want them to.

Why do my neighbors have power and I do not?

  1. You may be on a different distribution or transmission feeder line than your neighbors.
  2. You may have damage that only affects your power (blown or missing fuse, disconnected wires, etc.).
  3. You may need to call an electrician for repairs (weather head damage, fuse box damage).
  4. Always call your electric provider if your power is out and everyone around your house has electricity. This way we can either fix it or let you know what the you need to do before we can restore power to your home or business
  5. Do not assume we know your power is out. Please be sure to report any outages.

Santee Cooper appreciates your patience and understanding during emergency situations. When we begin the restoration process, generating stations and transmission lines must be repaired first. Next, power is restored to customers who provide essential services to the community, such as hospitals, police stations, fire departments, and water and sewer facilities. Repairs are then made that will return power to the greatest number of customers, such as damaged main feeder lines. Finally, we restore small groups and individual services.

Each hurricane and storm situation are different. Please be assured that Santee Cooper will work aggressively to restore power as quickly as possible after the storm. We know no one likes to be without electricity, and our employees are committed to providing our customers with fast, efficient service.

To report a power outage, go to or call 1-888-769-7688.

Author Anna Strickland

Anna Strickland

Considering herself a life-long learner, Anna is a former high school teacher who joined the Educational Programs department in 2016 at Santee Cooper. She is a graduate of Campbell University where she majored in history and education. Also, she earned a master’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Anna is passionate about education and community volunteerism. She serves as the Chair of SC Department of Commerce’s Waccamaw Regional Workforce Advisory Board and is a member of Coastal Carolina University’s Women in Philanthropy and Leadership.