Baldwin EMC back to 100% after Hurricane Sally

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SUMMERDALE, Ala. (WALA) – Baldwin EMC has finally restored its system to its pre-Hurricane Sally state. It’s been a long time coming. After nearly 22 months, Baldwin EMC officials say the goal of bringing the power grid back to 100 percent has been achieved.

With thousands of damaged poles and tens of kilometers of downed transmission lines, it was a monumental task. It was not easy and could not have been done without a partnership with Sparks Energy, a private contractor in Dadeville, Alabama.

“Our goal is to maintain the reliability of our system for all of our members and with our growth that we are experiencing, this was going to be a huge undertaking for us to do internally, which is why we contracted with Sparks Energy, to make this restoration effort,” explained Mark Ingram of Baldwin EMC.

In its 1,500 square mile service area, thousands of poles were snapped or bent, hundreds of transformers were damaged and more than 50 miles of lines were down. Countless trees were felled and nearly 2,000 exterior light fixtures had to be replaced. Even with outside help, repairs were costly and time-consuming.

After nearly 22 months of work, Baldwin EMC says the power grid is stronger than ever(Hal Scheurich)

“It took us a while to get these materials and supplies,” Ingram said. “We have a huge area to cover, so it took them a long time to get out there and remove those trees, straighten those poles and level those transformers.”

During the repair process, Baldwin EMC set a goal to complete the job before the 2022 hurricane season. NOAA predicts a busy season and the co-op wants to enter it at full strength.

“We always have to be prepared for a hurricane for our region, and we are ready,” Ingram assured. “We have a natural disaster plan. We put it into action. That works. It’s proven and we’re ready for this hurricane season if we have another hurricane.

With the investment being made in the repairs, all fingers are crossed that he won’t be here anytime soon.

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