Dennis causes discomfort through power outages

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-Though the widespread damage that had been anticipated was avoided in the Demopolis area there still remain minor inconveniences such as down trees and power outages. However, those who braved Hurricane Ivan last September welcomed minor inconveniences.

Marengo County Sheriff Jesse Langley said the area was fortunate to have avoided the crippling conditions endured last fall.

“We just thank god it was minor damage,” Langley said. “We had some people out there checking roads last night and we helped the road crews get everything cleared.”

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Langley said debris on the roads were the biggest problem faced by the county. He said this problem should be easy to solve.

“We mostly just had to clear some limbs and get them off the roads last night,” Langley said. “We have all the major roads cleared and have been working on the county roads today. We are just lucky it fizzled out before it got to us.”

In the city of Demopolis the damage was also light. Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson said there were still several people in the dark, but Alabama Power had a good start on restoring their light.

“We still have about 1,000 people in the area without power, but Alabama Power is on top of that,” Williamson said. “We just have some trees down and some power outages, but other than that we came out allright.”

Alabama Power crews were out in full force at first light Monday assessing storm damage from Dennis and continuing restoration efforts. As of 10:30 a.m. Monday 162,418 Alabama Power customers were without power statewide.

Many of these outages included Black Belt counties. In Alabama Power’s Western Division 21,083 were without power. This division includes Sumter, Greene, Hale, and parts of Marengo County. Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Franklin and Winston Counties were also included in this region.

An additional 45,677 had lost power in the Southern Division, which includes Perry County.

Only an hour later the numbers were already beginning to diminish. Just before noon Monday Alabama Power representative Carrie Kurlander said the numbers were still high, but the company hoped to bring them down as quickly as possible.

“Right now we have 141,587 in the state and 20,142 in the Western District,” Kurlander said. “We plan to meet this afternoon and have a better idea of what our plan of action will be. By then we hope to be able to at least give an estimate of when we can have them connected.”

In order to help restore power to customers Alabama Power has an additional 3,500 workers from 17 states committed to assist their 2,300 employees in the restoration efforts.

The company plans to execute a full inspection and evaluation of the damage across its service territory in order to be able to better provide an accurate estimate of restoration times.

Alabama Power also asks customers to please be patient. Crews plan to work as fast as safety allows, however, they must first repair larger lines that bring power to neighborhoods before individual lines can be prepared.

Crews must also operate on a priority basis. Hospitals, water and sewer treatment facilities, police, fire and other critical customers must be taken care of for the overall safety and well being of the community as a whole.

Throughout the coming cleanup Alabama Power advises citizens to use extreme caution when dealing with down power lines. Always assume a downed power line is live. Stay away from down lines and warn others to do the same.

Beware of lines that are touching a vehicle and stay away from the vehicle and the line. Also, do not drive over down power lines and keep children and pets away from these lines.

If a down power line is spotted please call Alabama Power at 1-800-888-APCO (2726) or a local law enforcement agency.