Governor Haley tours storm-damaged Aiken; power crews continue work

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News 12 at First at Five / Friday, Feb. 14, 2014

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- For Joyce Wood and her husband, the cavalry have arrived.

"Oh, I just praised the Lord when I saw them coming. I thought, oh, they haven't forgot us," she says.

Just after lunchtime, an Aiken Electric Coop truck rolled up to her home off Outing Club Road in Aiken.

"Well, we've been eating everything we can find," she says. "We sat the milk on the back porch, because it was colder outside than it was inside."

Wood has lived there for 45 years. For the past couple of days, she's been living in the dark with no heat.

"We just kind of wrapped up. You know, it wasn't quite as warm as we keep our house, but we were fairly comfortable," she says.

As work continues across Aiken County, Governor Nikki Haley met with top emergency leaders and leaders from SCE&G and Aiken Electric Coop.

"I knew this was going to be worse than 2004. I didn't know this was going to be in the same realm as Hugo," says Haley. "This is really devastating to look at these neighborhoods, to see trees down, to see trees on houses."

Haley says she was happy with the response so far. She says many linemen have risked life and limb to restore power in Aiken County and beyond.

"We have seen, basically, the landscape of this community has been completely damaged from this storm," she told a crowd of media and other members of the public.

Both power companies estimate that it could be Monday before Aiken County is fully restored.

"We had one circuit that we were working on in the Edgefield community that our linemen literally picked up and put back up seven times, and that's just so frustrating," says Gary Stooksbury, the CEO of Aiken Electric Coop.

With the ice gone, Stooksbury says his linemen hope to make a dent in the thousands of outages.

"We do take this personally," he says. "Our linemen are dedicated to this process. / And we're going to work tirelessly until we get it done."

"Pray for them and just be patient. They are working. Just because you don't see them, doesn't mean they not working," adds Wood.

At last check, SCE&G is reporting 28,606 outages in Aiken County. Aiken Electric Coop is reporting 22,999 outages in its nine county coverage area.

According to Stephen Hudson with the American Red Cross, the Red Cross shelter located at Aiken High School has been closed down. The Red Cross is responding to a request to open another shelter at Midland Valley High School.

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