Thousands still without power in Brunswick and New Hanover counties

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This screenshot provided by the Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation shows the Whiteville substation during Hurricane Matthew. (Photo courtesy BEMC).
This screenshot provided by the Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation shows the Whiteville substation during Hurricane Matthew. (Photo courtesy BEMC).

Tens of thousands remain without power Sunday morning following Hurricane Matthew’s path through the Cape Fear Region Saturday.

In Supply, the Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation on Sunday morning said it had crews prepared to work non-stop to restore electricity to thousands of customers and more than 50,000 affected meters.

“Our priority is to restore power to our members as safely and quickly as possible to as many people as possible,” spokeswoman Heather Holbrook said. “Despite our proactive planning and detailed preparation at all levels, we have experienced infrastructure damage. Losing our primary source of power was beyond our control and put a halt to our restoration process last night.”

According to a release from the BEMC, a majority of it’s outages in large parts of Columbus and Brunswick counties are caused by a loss of power to Duke Energy’s transmission lines, which feed the cooperative’s distribution system.

“We are cooperating with Duke and will be ready on our end when their transmission is back up,” Holbrook said. “Once Duke’s transmission is restored, significant progress in BEMC’s power restoration is expected today for members still experiencing outages.”

Duke on Sunday had hundreds of thousands of people without power throughout the state. In the Cape Fear Region, those numbers were below 50,000 just before noon.

If your power outage has not already been reported, Duke Energy customers can call 1-800-419-6356 or text OUT to 57801 from the phone associated with the account. BEMC customers can call 1-800-682-5309.

Duke customers can also track and report outages online.

According the Brunswick County Emergency Management, as many as 50,000 in that county people were without power on Saturday night. It issued a list of safety precautions on Sunday morning.

They include:

  • Do not use a grill, charcoal or gas, indoors; doing so can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and can be a fire hazard;
  • For the same reasons, generators should only be used in well-ventilated areas, away from buildings, not in garages;
  • If your power is out, turn off and unplug appliances and electronic devices to avoid damage from power surges when power is restored. Leave one light on to know when power is restored;
  • Use flashlights instead of candles, especially if you have children or pets, to reduce the risk of fires.