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Scattered outages remain

Workers continue efforts to restore power Tuesday afternoon. (WDN Photo/Mona Moore)

For most Beaufort County residents and businesses left without power Sunday after a storm system roared through the county, their power has been restored.
Power providers report small numbers of their customers remained without power Tuesday. At the height of the outages Sunday, about 25,000 power customers throughout the county were without power, according to John Pack, Beaufort County’s emergency-management coordinator.
Pack said Washington’s electric system suffered widespread damage. About 100 to 150 Washington Electric Utilities customers were expected to be without power Tuesday night, he said.
“The City of Washington is just struggling simply because there’s such a great amount of utility damage. It far exceeded any of the other power companies, you know, in any way, shape or form,” Pack said. “It’s just one of those things. They’re working as hard as they can. They tell me they hope by (tonight) to have everything down to just two or three people.”
As for Tideland Electric Membership Corp., its power supplier, Dominion Power, was able to repair transmission service to Tideland at 2:57 a.m. Tuesday.
“Tideland crews are now working a handful of scattered outages, but our system is considered 99 percent restored,” wrote Heidi Smith, manager of economic development, marketing and corporate communications for Tideland, in an email.
Dominion Power’s transmission service was lost to Tideland at 4:30 p.m. Sunday following a windstorm that impacted a wide swath of eastern North Carolina. Dominion Power originally reported two downed transmission structures near Everetts and Wharton. Officials with Dominion later notified the co-op they had discovered a third damaged transmission structure.
As of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Progress Energy had 18 customers in Beaufort County without power, said Jeff Brooks, a Progress Energy spokesman. Brooks said most of Progress Energy’s “active” outages in Beaufort County are in the Chocowinity area.
Brooks said those customers were expected to have power by late Tuesday night.
“We’ve been continuing to make good progress (Tuesday) on these remaining outages. Most of what we have left on our system are individual outages or small clusters of customers,” Brooks said Tuesday afternoon.
Pack said storm victims who lost their homes or whose homes suffered major damage likely will not be able to obtain state or federal aid to help them recover.
“Nothing from the state or the federal government at this time,” Pack said. “We’re below the threshold the state sets and also that FEMA sets. I’d love to tell you something different, but the truth’s the truth.”
FEMA stands for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The American Red Cross and the volunteer agencies are doing everything they can,” Pack said.
“Our numbers are holding pretty steady,” Pack said when asked about damage assessments. “We’ve come up with 10 mobile homes (destroyed) instead of the original eight. There was one in Bath we weren’t counting. We found another one off Pungo River. … It was on the Beaufort County side, not the Hyde County side.”
Pack said debris removal remains a priority.
“The Baptist Men are in here with a chainsaw crew. They’re clearing debris. The Methodist groups are in here trying to assess can we fix some of these mobile homes that are moderately damaged. That type of thing,” Pack said. “You still have The Salvation Army doing feeding.”
The “cooling shelter” which opened at P.S. Jones Middle School on Monday closed Tuesday afternoon, Pack noted. The shelter was opened to give displaced people and those without power a place to escape the extreme heat.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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