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Thousands still without power; small protest forms outside Southside Electric Cooperative offices

"They failed us."
Posted at 3:24 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 18:25:03-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Restoration efforts continued Monday for thousands of Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) members who remained without power more than one week after an ice storm damaged most of the utility company's infrastructure.

A small protest formed in the rain Monday outside the SEC headquarters in Crewe.

"I don't blame Southside Electric wholeheartedly because you can't predict Mother Nature. But, I think they failed us in not replacing old poles and cross arms and I think they could do a little bit better. I hope they do in the future," Trudy Berry, who lives in Lunenburg County, said.

"This isn't about the linemen. We know they're working their butts off and we thank people for coming in," Joe Paschal, lives in Lunenburg County, added. "This is about the leadership at SEC."

More than 10,000 SEC members remained without power Monday afternoon.

The company announced 23 additional line crews have come to help with restoration efforts, bringing the total number of crew members to more than 900.

Ron White, Vice President of SEC’s Public and Member Relations, said they'll keep bringing crews on until the power is restored -- and the current target is to do that for 99.9% of its members by February 28.

The only foreseeable hurdle is more bad weather -- which has been hampering the work they have had to do.

When asked about Monday's protest, a co-op spokesperson said they were focused on restoring power, but added there would be opportunities to "engage SEC members down the road on other matters."