SUMMERDALE, Ala. (WALA) - Hurricane Sally caused widespread outages in Baldwin EMC’s service area affecting as many as 77,296 members, officials reported Wednesday, September 16.
Officials say up to 97% of the cooperative’s meters are currently without power. Sally’s strong winds and heavy rains have damaged power lines and equipment. Reports of downed trees and power lines with numerous power poles broken are coming in from across our service area. There was also damage to some transmission lines that feed power to the substations and, equipment in some locations is under water.
Officials at Baldwin EMC warn members to stay away from downed power lines. Do not attempt cutting trees or branches that are near downed lines. Please assume all lines are energized and dangerous.
They say crews are beginning to assess damage, and power restoration efforts will begin just as soon as conditions are safe.
“We sympathize with our members and ask for their understanding and patience while our employees work to restore their power,” said Mark Ingram, Baldwin EMC vice president of corporate services and public relations. "Up to 1,600 additional crews are on the way to assist, however, we expect extended outages due to the amount of damage."
Officials say if you choose to fill the gap in electric service with a portable generator, you are urged to practice caution and only use generators outdoors.
Using generators inside can have tragic consequences. Fumes produced can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators should only be used in well-ventilated areas outside the home. In addition, never add fuel while a generator is running. Turn it off and let it cool first.
Do not connect a portable generator to your home’s wiring. Connect it only to appliances, and only use approved properly sized power cords.
Baldwin EMC’s offices will be closed until further notice as employees work to restore power.
OUTAGE REPORTING LINE: Baldwin EMC is experiencing intermittent problems with telephone lines. Members who need to report an outage or damaged power lines should try one of the following numbers: (251) 989-6247, (800) 837-3374, or (251) 580-5500. Outages can also be reported by texting Outage to 85700. (Members who are not already subscribed to the co-op’s outage texting service can sign up by texting Baldwin to 85700.)