Finishing up with Dennis power outages

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Selma TImes-Journal

It won’t be long before almost everyone in the Dallas County area has power, utility officials said Tuesday.

Both Alabama Power and Pioneer Electric, the biggest service provider in Dallas County, reported that 99 percent of service had been restored yesterday.

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Figures from the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative were unavailable as of presstime.

Terry Wilhite, speaking for Pioneer, said most of his company’s customers were back on Monday evening.

At the height of the storm, APC reported about 15,000 customers without service in the Selma area. Crews responded as soon as winds from Dennis subsided, at about 6 a.m. Monday morning, Ellis said.

According to Ellis, APC had 6,248 workers from 29 different states and Canada working in Alabama to restore service. Selma served as a staging area for about 400 workers, with some even staying in the National Guard Armory, opened Monday to house the workers.

While there was a lot of work for APC workers to do, Ellis said the havoc Dennis wreaked couldn’t compare to Ivan.

She said the biggest reason this storm was such a problem is because of the individual outages spread throughout the area.

Ellis said APC crews will start filtering out of the area, as more and more customers get service restored.

Many people are still without power, but in the 48 hours since Dennis hit about 220,000 Alabama Power customers have had service restored.

Pioneer found itself in a similar situation, but on a much smaller scale.

By Tuesday evening, Wilhite said almost all of the system’s customers had service restored.

Wilhite said that in Butler County, Pioneer had three poles down because of Dennis. When Ivan came through, the system had to replace hundreds.

During Dennis, about 8,000 of the system’s customers lost power, Wilhite said.

Most of those had their power restored by Monday evening. The rest were finished Tuesday.

More than 250 workers quickly responded to problems, Wilhite said. He said most of the problems were the result of limbs on the lines and in some cases downed trees. Very few of the problems were the result of downed poles.

Wilhite said Pioneer’s membership responded positively to the work and the delay in service.