Two electric cooperatives have dispatched line crews to help a neighbouring state restore power following the late-winter storm.
In a mutual arrangement through the Touchstone collective of electric cooperatives, crews from two of North Carolina's electric cooperatives came to the aid of people in Virginia.
Crews from Blue Ridge EMC based in Lenoir, N.C. and Rutherford EMC based in Forest City, N.C.traveled north into Virginia early Thursday morning. A total of more than 30 electric cooperative line workers from North Carolina will help the Virginia co-ops with outage restoration efforts.
The deployment of crews is part of a mutual aid agreement shared between the nation's nearly 1,000 electric cooperatives to help each other in times of emergency, such as natural disasters.
Electric cooperatives across the country use the same line system engineering standards, which means line crews from any part of the country can quickly help sister cooperatives in restoration efforts.
Jane Pritchard, director of corporate communications for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives, said: "Electricity is critical to the way we live, and it's important that people affected by this storm have power restored as quickly as possible. We are happy to help our fellow cooperatives and know that they would do the same for us because it's the cooperative way."
North Carolina's electric cooperatives serve approximately 2.5 million people in 93 of the state's 100 counties and maintain nearly 98,000 miles of power lines.