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Crews working to restore power

Heavy winds overnight and into early morning have cause widespread damage in Chilton County as the remains of storm Zeta.

The hurricane was still at Category 2 force winds when it made landfall in Louisiana on Oct. 28.

Mike Jordan of Alabama Power said the electric company was still completing damage assessment, but that there were downed power poles and lines in addition to the trees and limbs that have fallen.

This debris may make some roads impassable.

Alabama Power had 10,000 customers without power within the county at 6 p.m. on Oct. 29. This was after 4,000 Alabama Power customers in Chiton County had power restored.

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative reported 8,900 customers in Chilton County were without power at 2 p.m. on Oct. 29.

“While good progress has been made, extensive damage remains,” Jordan stated in a release.  “There are hundreds of fallen trees which have resulted in numerous broken power poles and multiple spans of downed wire.  As a result, this will be a multiple day power restoration event.”

Approximately 75% of all CAEC customers had been without power immediately following the storm.

“Our crews are working extended hours to restore power to all of those affected by Tropical Storm Zeta,” said CAEC President and CEO Tom Stackhouse in a press release. “We haven’t seen an outage event of this scale since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and we appreciate our members for their understanding and patience during this extreme weather event.”

Jordan said work to restore power began as soon as it was safe for crews to be out. In Chilton County, this was early on the morning of Oct. 29 and is expected to continue throughout the day.

Jordan said power would be restored “as safely and as quickly as possible.”

CAEC stated “More than 100 employees are working to restore power with assistance from Joe Wheeler Electric Cooperative and numerous contract crews with more help on the way.”

On Oct. 30, CAEC posted this update on its’s Facebook “We are still waiting on three substations– Union Grove, Jones and Maplesville—to come online due to transmission line damage, which Alabama Power Company is working to repair. While we are repairing the lines/equipment feeding out from these subs, we cannot evaluate the full extent of damage down the line until the subs are operational. Crews will be working to replace/repair the main distribution lines again today—these three-phase lines are what feed tap lines that run down roads and neighborhoods. We have many three-phase poles that must be replaced so repairs can be made. As these lines are repaired, it will restore power to some areas. This is also why you may not see crews in your neighborhood or why some may have power and you do not.”

Residents are encouraged to stay away from downed power lines.

“Treat all downed power lines as if they are energized,” Jordan said.

Chilton County Schools remain closed today.

In a statement on the school Facebook page, Superintendent Jason Griffin explained that this would be a weather day for the school system, not an eLearning day. This means students will not be required to complete the work that they normally would on a Thursday.

“We pray for those who suffered damage,” Griffin said.