Storm response was excellent
Monday marked the first day of spring and, after last week’s pounding of ice and winds, it could not have come soon enough.
While this winter was rather mild for Charles County, last week was enough of a headache for locals to make us all want to be done with the season. Many forecasters were predicting that Winter Storm Stella was going to slam northern parts of Maryland while Southern Maryland was just going to receive a mild wintery mix, mostly rain. Stella had other ideas. Instead of mostly rain, much of the county was coated in a sheen of ice, weighing down tree branches. The soaking rains softened the ground, and then strong winds created perfect conditions for falling trees, and, in no time at all, thousands of SMECO customers were left without power. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office, county roads division and local volunteer fire departments were kept busy with calls for service, responding to everything from car accidents to traffic lights being out to trees blocking roadways to downed power lines.
At some point, according to a SMECO spokesperson, there were as many as 44,800 customers individually affected by power outages.
And last Tuesday’s weather conditions continued to hamper efforts to restore power as strong wind gusts caused already stressed trees and power lines to snap, causing more outages. SMECO was aided in restoring power by Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, Choptank Electric Cooperative and contractor crews from Delaware, working as quickly as possible around the clock. By 4:35 p.m. Wednesday, SMECO reported service had been restored to all customers.
While winter is hopefully behind us, so begins the upcoming severe storm season. We quite often take for granted the creature comforts electricity provides for us, be it heating and air conditioning, food storage, internet access, light, power for our various electronic devices and appliances. It’s a minor inconvenience to go without power for a few minutes, but very distressing when it stretches into hours or even days.
Anytime there is an incident of this nature, SMECO is top notch in restoring power quickly. There are other power companies operating in the state and many people living in the areas serviced by those companies constantly complain about their providers’ slow response to restoring power. Few have that complaint about SMECO. They have consistently shown that when there is a weather event on the horizon, they mobilize their force and get right to work when outages occur, working methodically to restore power to as many customers as possible as soon as possible. We appreciate all of your efforts and are proud to have such a professional and dedicated crew working for the people of Charles County and Southern Maryland.
And while we want to recognize the herculean efforts of our SMECO crews, we also need to commend our first responders and county roads crews who were also out ensuring motorists and pedestrians could travel safely throughout the region. While we were fretting about outages, you were out there weathering the aftermath to ensure our safety. Your efforts, too, should not go unnoticed or unappreciated. We think we can speak for the vast majority of Charles County residents when we say we are very thankful for all of you.