ISLAND SERVICE 87 PERCENT ‘OUT OF SIGHT’

BY THE NUMBERS, our project to remove co-op overhead power lines and poles on Hilton Head Island is going well. As of mid-November, we are now 87 percent complete and on budget.
Speaking of numbers, here are a few other noteworthy stats. So far, we’ve had:

  • 2,418 poles and
  • 1,085 overhead transformers removed,
  • 1,405 services converted, and
  • 109 miles of overhead lines replaced with underground lines.

Begun in 2004 and projected to cost $34.77 million, the project is funded by franchise fees collected by the Town of Hilton Head Island. The town uses collected fees to offset costs associated with the project, which doesn’t include Santee Cooper’s overhead transmission lines. We appreciate the town’s vision and partnering with us to make it happen.
This isn’t all about numbers, of course. It’s about making our distribution system more resilient, better able to withstand strong winds, like from tropical storms. It’s also about aesthetics–making a beautiful place even more beautiful. In many situations, underground service can reduce outages. However, as post-hurricane flooding this past fall reminds us, underground doesn’t mean outage-proof. Those green junction boxes for our transformers won’t work if submerged.
Another key point: Ultimately, all service is overhead. Even when this conversion project is 100 percent complete, the power we distribute from our substations still comes through overhead transmission lines, like those suspended on the steel towers you see when you cross onto the island. What’s more, we do not maintain those lines; Santee Cooper does. If there’s a problem on the transmission side, large numbers of Palmetto members may lose service.
Trust us, we don’t like outages any more than you. When they occur, we do everything in our power to get your power back on ASAP. To help, keep us updated on your current phone number. Having it makes our Power Touch app even more powerful.
Keeping you informed is as important as keeping your lights on. Keeping our part of the Lowcountry beautiful is, to use an apt old phrase, “out of sight,” too.

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