Corn Belt Energy has dispatched crews to the southeastern United States to help restore power to thousands in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
Steve Hancock, Corn Belt's vice president of electric distribution, said two four-man crews are currently working in Youngsville, North Carolina, about 30 miles northeast of Raleigh.
He said Corn Belt crews will be working in two-week shifts to assist local energy cooperatives and will move to other impacted areas once power in restored.
“There’s so many buildings and trees and roadways that are blocked, they have to clear all that out before they can begin to restore power,” Hancock said. “It will be a long time before power is fully restored.
“In some areas there’s such devastation of buildings that power is not even required.”
He said help might be needed for months.
“From all indications of this one, there are thousands and thousands of poles down, there’s a transmission line that’s destroyed as well as a substation,” Hancock said. “My guess is this can parallel the potential of a (Hurricane) Katrina incident.”
NPR reports at least 11 people have died while 1.4 million people in seven states are without power due to Hurricane Michael. Some of the area’s in Michael’s path were still recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Florence.
Corn Belt officials said multiple crews remain available in its Bloomington and Princeton offices to handle daily operations.
“Electric cooperatives are an impressive family that serve each other and the membership with extraordinary effort,” said Don Taylor, Corn Belt Energy president and CEO. “Not only are we sending crews to assist with storm restoration efforts, I also see the team at home stepping up and stepping in in a variety of ways in addition to their everyday work.”
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.