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Crews working to restore power to thousands

Thousands of people within Pearl River County are without power due to the aftermath of Hurricane Zeta.

April Lollar, Director of Communications for Coast Electric, said that of the nearly 19,000 customers served in Pearl River County, about 7,500 are without power. She said that Pearl River County was the least affected of the counties covered by Coast Electric. Harrison and Hancock Counties suffered significant damage where even more customers are currently without power. Within Hancock County, of the 20,000 customers served there, 13,539 are without power; within Harrison County, 39,877 of the 44,574 customers are without power.

Lollar said crews from out of town are assisting local linemen in restoring power. She said additional crews will arrive later today and tomorrow. Due to the scope of the outages, a timeline when all power would be restored was not available. Part of the restoration process includes assessing the damage caused and determining what parts are needed to restore power. Since Pearl River County is mostly rural, it may take longer to restore power to individual homes as opposed to conducting repairs  in more densely populated areas.

According to a statement from Mississippi Power Company, 91,000 customers in the company’s coverage area were without power when restoration began Wednesday night. By 5 a.m. Thursday, 84,000 customers were still without power.

Mississippi Power Company spokesman Jeff Shepard said in the statement, “Customers should be prepared for a multi-day restoration event. Due to the extensive impact across the service territory, damage assessments will continue through Thursday while restoring power.”

Shephard said that within Pearl River County, Mississippi Power Company, by 7 p.m. Wednesday, 4,900 customers were without power in Picayune, by 10 p.m. in Carriere, 1,500 customers were without power and by 1 a.m. in Poplarville 475 customers were without power. By Thursday morning, 50 residents in Poplarville were still without power, 330 residents in Picayune were still without power and 420 customers in Carriere were without power.

Mississippi Power Company is also bringing in more crews to help with the restoration of power. He added that about 2.5 million homes were without power as of Thursday between Louisiana,  Mississippi, Georgia and the Carolinas as a result of the Hurricane Zeta.

Lollar reminds residents to stay away from downed power lines and ensure generators are used safely, which includes ensuring the generator does not back feed to the electrical grid.