Over 4,000 Delawareans lose power during winter storm

DOVER — According to Delaware Electric Cooperative and Delmarva Power, heavy, wet snowfall that continued into Wednesday evening resulted in several large power outages on Wednesday — mostly in the northern and central part of the state. According to the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), 4,100 power outages have been reported, but the power company’s individual reports suggest the number is higher.

Heavy, wet snow weighing down power lines on Underwoods Corner Road near Clayton.
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Delaware Electric Cooperative is reporting widespread power outages in their service areas specifically in Kent County.

“We’re pretty busy right now, we have about 2,000 co-op members without power,” Co-op spokesman Jeremy Tucker said around 3 p.m. “The majority of the affected customers are west of Dover to Hartly and west of Smyrna.”

Mr. Tucker said the power company had more than 40 lineman and 35 bucket trucks mobilized in an effort to restore power as quickly as possible.

“If things get really bad, we also have contract crews we can call in,” he said. “We’re not quite there yet, but we do have those resources on standby. We’re prepared for the worst.”

The main issue, Mr. Tucker notes, is heavy, wet snow downing trees on power lines. As of Wednesday afternoon, he said conditions didn’t seem to be letting up either.

“Our first major outage came in around 1 p.m. when a tree came down on a line feeding one of our substations — that affected around 1,500 people,” he said. “Since then, we’ve continued to have scattered outages. We should that have power restored in our currently affected areas in the next hour or two, but the caveat is: as long as the heavy snow continues, we’ll likely see new outages pop up.”

Temperatures throughout Wednesday morning stayed just above freezing, which Mr. Tucker said has allowed roadways to remain mostly clear. This helped linemen gain access to troubled areas, but has had the negative effect of causing the snow to “stick to trees and power lines and weight them down,” Mr. Tucker said.

To anyone waiting, Mr. Tucker said crews are working as fast as possible.

“We understand on a day when everyone is home from work and school, no one wants to lose power, but when the lights go out, we assure you that crews are working as fast as they can, often under dangerous conditions, to get power restored,” he said.

According to their online outage map, Delmarva Power customers has nearly 4,000 of their customers — from New Castle and Kent counties — affected by outages.

In a press release, Delmarva Power noted fallen trees were also the main culprit in their outages.

The company also noted that in addition to nearly 260 internal linemen, they have access to more than 240 overhead line contractors and tree crew personnel if needed. Although customers may continue to experience scattered outages, Delmarva Power was expecting to have most power restored by 9 p.m.

Both companies recommend reporting outages at either delmarva.com or delaware.coop/

Tree branches in Hartly droop from the weight of ice. Photo by Katrina Sullivan

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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