There have been quite a few hurricanes in recent years, but most of you remember Irma, I’m sure. The 2017 hurricane caused record storm surges that drenched Hilton Head Island’s southern end in particular. In Sea Pines, low-lying areas such as South Beach and Calibogue Cay, prone to tidal ﬂooding, suffered signifcant damage and outages that we couldn’t address until waters receded.
Since Irma, Palmetto Electric Cooperative has undertaken a project to improve service on the island. We’ve replaced many of the green transformer and switch boxes located in ﬂood-prone areas, elevating them in the process. The new switch boxes have fuses that better protect the equipment and allow for faster restoration.
Meanwhile, Palmetto continues to remove co-op overhead power lines and poles on the island. Begun in 2004 and projected to cost $34.77 million, this project is funded mostly by franchise fees collected by the Town of Hilton Head Island. The town uses collected fees to offset costs associated with the project, which don’t include Santee Cooper’s overhead transmission lines. As of early December, we are 93 percent complete and on budget. So far, we have removed 3,240 poles and 1,117 overhead transformers. We’ve completed 1,590 service conversions and replaced 115 miles of overhead lines with underground lines.
We appreciate the town’s vision and willingness to partner with us. Of course, we appreciate all of our members and have system improvements underway around our service area. We’ll keep you posted on our progress throughout 2019. Happy New Year from Palmetto Electric Cooperative!