KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. –A group of Clay Electric Cooperative (CEC) employees left for Walterboro, South Carolina Thursday morning to help Coastal Electric Cooperative rebuild its system after an ice storm caused widespread damage. Most of Coastal’s 11,600 members were without power. Coastal is located in southeastern South Carolina.
Clay sent 25 personnel and a convoy of 15 vehicles to South Carolina. The convoy included digger-derrick trucks, bucket trucks, material handler trucks, pickup trucks, a van and a mechanic’s truck.
Personnel from Clay’s central construction division and five of the co-op’s six districts will be involved in the restoration effort.
Construction Superintendent Mark Townsend said that the convoy is expected to arrive at Coastal around 3 p.m. They’re expected to be there around a week.
“We’re glad to help our fellow co-ops out when they suffer widespread damage,” Townsend said. “We’re glad to help them, because one day they might be able to help us if we’re hit by a major storm.”
Crew chief Ronald Harper will be in charge of Clay’s crews in South Carolina. He said Coastal had suffered extensive damage due to ice-covered tree limbs breaking off and falling across distribution lines and equipment.
Clay Electric has assistance agreements with other cooperatives in the state and region so that it can call on other cooperatives for help if the need arises. Clay has sent crews to other parts of Florida in recent years to help them restore service after hurricanes caused damage, and cooperatives from as far away as Minnesota and Nevada sent crews to help Clay and other Florida cooperatives when hurricanes visited the state in 2004 and 2005.
CEC heads to SC to help in ice storm restoration(YouTube Video)