When Hurricane Florence paid an unwelcome visit to southeastern North Carolina, she affected BEMC members and employees in numerous ways. While the category of the storm could have been much worse, the devastating combination of wind and water brought outages and flooding to thousands of our members.
We thank each one of you for your understanding and for your encouragement that fateful week in September. For their dedication and willingness to serve, we also thank our crews and support teams who worked around the clock in bad weather conditions. We thank all BEMC employees whose work behind the scenes is crucial in the restoration process. We thank their families, too, who sacrificed so much while their loved ones were away from home.
The co-op is storm-tested, and for nearly 80 years, has successfully fought the battle of rapid restoration. We focus 100% on safely accessing and restoring outages after a severe weather event. Some of our neighbors were heavily impacted, like the communities of Boardman and Crusoe, Town Creek and Stoney Creek, and many other areas within our 1,500-square-mile service territory throughout Columbus, Brunswick, and small parts of Robeson and Bladen counties.
It took many hands to address the layers of destruction, but we achieved full restoration after meeting challenges that were compounded by floodwaters. Our crews were joined by hundreds of additional crews; Right-of-Way and clearing crews, line techs, ground crews, and their supervisors, all working outside in the elements. Many others worked inside around the clock to support those crews; in the control center, the warehouse, the garage to keep all those trucks running. Crews needed food and lodging, so BEMC’s operations management team coordinated logistics, our communication and customer service teams kept you informed, while still more employees were watching the meters, the substations, the maintenance, and the miles of line.
All these facets of your electric cooperative work as a team every day for the membership, but never more efficiently and with more purpose than during a crisis.
Look out for scams
Follow these tips to protect yourself after the storm:
Do verify contractors with local consumer protection officials.
Do ask to see a license and certificate of insurance. If a contractor tells you that work is covered by your insurance, call your insurance company to confirm.
Don’t pay someone up front to repair or assess storm damage. Instead, pay as the work is done.
Don’t pay with cash; always use a check or a credit card so you have a paper trail.
Do protect your account information. BEMC will never call and request your account number or payment over the phone.
Do research charities before you donate. Protect your personal information if you decide to give and make sure you know where your money will be used.