Utility providers in York, Chester and Lancaster counties are preparing for potential heavy rain and winds as Hurricane Irma nears the United States mainland.
Rock Hill Utilities, Duke Energy and York Electric Cooperative crews are preparing for potential storm damage. The utility providers are part of mutual aid programs with other areas of the state and country, but they will not move crews until any threat of the storm has passed, officials said.
Rock Hill Utilities crews are fueling equipment, stocking trucks and completing maintenance, said Marcia Miktuk, a spokesperson for the city of Rock Hill. Top city staff are meeting today to discuss crucial reserves of fuel and warehouse stocks of equipment, Miktuk said.
The storm could affect much of South Carolina and the Southeast.
In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo knocked out power to tens of thousands of people in York, Chester and Lancaster counties. Most customers in Rock Hill lost power initially, and some people were without power for days or weeks after Hugo.
Crews that handle trees and utility service will not be released from the city until the primary threat to Rock Hill has passed, Miktuk said.
Marc Howie, a vice-president at York Electric Cooperative, said crews are ready, and will stay locally until the impact on the area is known. The cooperative sent several crews to the South Carolina coast after Hurricane Matthew last year.
Duke Energy spokesman Ryan Mosier said crews will not be moved from the Carolinas until the storm threat in this area has passed.
“We are making plans, but until we have a better idea of where the storm is likely to impact in the Carolinas we will not be moving crews or equipment to stage for the storm,” Mosier said. “Duke Energy is preparing for Hurricane Irma and is urging customers to prepare as well.”
Duke Energy meteorologists are monitoring Hurricane Irma and providing routine updates to teams, Mosier said.
Duke has a detailed storm response plan and technicians and support personnel are available to respond, Mosier said.
Mosier and other emergency officials urged the public to prepare for any possible storm before impact.