The heaviest precipitation from a one-two punch winter storm is over, but more than 200,000 people remain without power in South Carolina and many could be in the dark and without heat for several days.
As of 10 a.m. Friday, the state Office of Regulatory Staff says over 224,000 customers remain without power statewide.
South Carolina Electric & Gas officials say customers in more populated areas will see power restored throughout today and the weekend. However, rural areas could be without power for as much as a week.
Officials said Thursday morning most of its 72,000 outages are in rural areas, so they are moving crews out of cities to help.
SCE&G crews and contract lineman from several states plan to work through the weekend to turn the lights and heat back on for thousands in the state.
If you are an SCE&G customer and you need to check power outages, click here.
"Let us know. You can phone us. Our outage reporting number is 888-333-4465. You can also send a text," said Eric Boomhower with SCE&G. "It could be a while (before service is restored) depending on how badly we're hit."
Boomhower added that to send a text message to SCE&G to report an outage, customers must register their cell phones with the company via its web site.
"We've got crews that have been working and will continue to work until we get everybody's lights back on," Boomhower said Thursday morning. "We appreciate the patience of our customers. Unfortunately I can't give you specific times. We have about 1200 of our employees working on this and we have about 300 crew members from places like Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio who have come in to help us."
The number of power outages increased significantly overnight in Orangeburg, where the Department of Public Utilities says their outages went from 2,000 Wednesday night to about 10,000 Thursday morning.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina say as of 8 a.m. Thursday, they are working to restore power to nearly 138,000 customers statewide, with significant outages in the Aiken and Santee cooperatives.
About 21,000 customers total are without power in Sumter County. 18,000 customers were blacked out in Orangeburg County. In Lexington County, 17,649 lost power and the SCORS reports 3,400 customers lost power in Richland County.
The Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities received outside help to get power back on.
"We brought in additional crews," said Director Randy Etters with ODPU. About ten crews are working to restore power.
"They worked all through the night and they will work all day until everybody's back up and running."
"With an event like this, when you have limbs across lines, it generally impacts a large area of people," Etters said. "But once you are able to de-energize the line, clear the limb or the tree from the line, and check the circuit, then we're able to get a large group of people. So you're not doing ones or twos, you're doing 200, 300, 400 at a time."
Lineworkers from five Tennessee electric cooperatives are helping restore power to winter storm victims in South Carolina.
According to the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, 41 line workers are either en route or readying for departure and 50 more are on standby. Crews from Tennessee will be assisting Santee Electric Cooperative in Kingstree.
The crews are from the Chickasaw Electric Cooperative, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, Plateau Electric Cooperative and Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative. Cooperative Association General Manager David Callis said the Tennessee crews are glad to help and know that the assistance will be repaid one day.
If you are a customer of an electric cooperative, click here for a list of numbers to report a power outage to your cooperative.
In January 2004, three-quarters of an inch of ice left 250,000 customers without electricity statewide.
Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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