Residents pick up the pieces

Most city customers should have power by Sunday; Duke customers have longer wait
Mar. 08, 2014 @ 06:39 PM

Power crews from High Point and Duke Energy were working Saturday to get power back to the thousands of customers still in the dark after Friday’s ice storm.
City Manager Strib Boynton said most residents on city power should have it restored by late Sunday. Duke Energy customers in Guilford, Randolph and Davidson counties may be without electricity until 11 p.m. Wednesday.
High Point utility crews, with help from other jurisdictions, as of Saturday afternoon were able to restore electricity to about half of High Point customers who lost power following Thursday’s ice storm.  
City Manager Strib Boynton said as of Saturday evening, less than 16,000 High Point customers still were without power, down from 32,000 as of Friday night. The city has 41,000 total customers.
“We made substantial progress (Saturday) restoring power to customers who didn’t have it,” Boynton said. “I’m very proud of my fellow city employees and without the help from crews from Concord, Kings Mountain and Greenville (S.C.), we’d be way behind the curve.”
Trees and power lines remained down throughout the city on Saturday, including in the Emerywood area where Kathy Coble was helping her parents clear their yard from fallen magnolia tree limbs.
“It’s a mess,” Coble said. “We went most of the day (Friday) and (Saturday) without electricity. We had to wait until the sun came out to start clearing the trees, because we haven’t been able to get our car out.”
Coble’s nephew Woody and brother-in-law Ed helped their family clear the driveway to get the car out into the street.
Other neighbors in the area cleared debris from trees that had fallen on the power lines.
Some High Pointers were taking their tree debris to the Ingleside Compost Facility, including City Councilman Jim Davis and his son Wyatt and Jamestown resident Matt Flynn.
“Half our neighborhood is out of power, and there are a lot of trees down,” Flynn said.
Flynn said he’s taken three trips to the compost facility and anticipated having to make two more trips. Flynn was helped by his neighbors Sal Saavedra and Paul Durant.
Richard McMillan, public services assistant director, said the compost facility will lax the rules a bit during the cleanup from the ice storm. The facility will be open Sunday until 4 p.m. and there is no charge for anyone, including commercial vehicles.
“(Residents) can bring just about anything here, and the rules on yard waste, we are setting those aside for the next three or four weeks while people are still cleaning up,” McMillan said. “The city manager will decide when we go back to normal.”
McMillan said residents also can put tree limbs and debris in neat piles no more than 6 feet in length at the curb and crews will continue to pick them up.
According to Duke Energy, more than 4,300 line and tree personnel are responding to hard-hit areas, including Davidson, Guilford and Randolph counties. Crews are clearing trees, replacing poles, restringing power lines and replacing transformers and other equipment.
jhowse@hpe.com | 888-3617