Alabama Power outages from Hurricane Zeta under 84,000 statewide this afternoon

Alabama Power outages from Hurricane Zeta under 84,000 statewide this afternoon
Alabama Power crews are working with those from other states to restore power to the remaining customers who lost service due to Hurricane Zeta. (Wynter Byrd / Alabama NewsCenter)

Alabama Power crews working through difficult conditions remain resolute in their commitment to customer service. More than 5,000 lineworkers and support personnel from 19 states and Canada are working to get the lights back on after Category 2 Hurricane Zeta left a wake of destruction last week in communities from the coast to northeast Alabama.

By Saturday evening, crews had already replaced more than 250 poles, more than 125 transformers and 800 spans of wire that were damaged by Zeta’s high winds and heavy rains.

As of 3 p.m. Sunday, under 84,000 outages remain statewide. The company expects to have 95% of its customers who can receive service restored by Tuesday evening.

Eastern and southern Alabama have the most extensive damage, leading to longer estimated restoration times. Restoration in the hardest hit areas of Calhoun, Chilton, Clarke, Clay, Dallas, Randolph and Talladega counties will likely extend later in the week.

“Storms of this severity require an extensive restoration process – thorough damage assessments, clearing trees, identifying needed resources to replace poles and restring wire,” said David Huddleston, Alabama Power Engineering supervisor. “Our storm team continues to make progress and it is in large part due to the tireless dedication of our team.”

Beginning early Thursday morning, the Alabama Power storm team began evaluating damage caused by Zeta. The company says it restores power first to vital services like hospitals, fire and police stations, then begins working in areas where it can restore service to the greatest number of people in the shortest time.

Due to the significant tree debris, crews often must clear areas before lineworkers can begin restoring power. While customers may not always see crews working in their neighborhood, they may be working miles away.

Often during major weather events, utilities rely on their partnerships with peer companies through the industry’s mutual assistance network. Utilities are always ready to lend a hand in neighboring states. While Alabama Power has helped others in the past, especially during this active hurricane season, it reports that all company crews were home and ready to respond to Zeta’s aftermath. Zeta’s widespread damage across the Southeast, coupled with other significant weather events across the country, have limited mutual assistance resources available to Alabama Power in the aftermath of the storm.

The company says it is grateful to receive assistance from industry partners in order to get the lights back on as quickly as possible in Alabama.

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