Thousands still without power because of Lee - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Thousands still without power because of Lee

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Crews on Standifer Gap Road near the Shenandoah subdivision in Hamilton county worked tirelessly Wednesday to restore lost power due to winds from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. A downed tree on a power line was the culprit. It's been a busy year for power crews, both locally and regionally.

"Ever since the first of the year it's been wide open with storms, tornadoes, ice storms. You name it, we've been on it," said Brad Whitfield, crew foreman for Pike Electric.

Pike is based in North Carolina. The company was contracted by the Electric Power Board (EPB) to help this time around. According to EPB officials, hiring outside help is standard procedure when restoring power is expected to take more than a day.

Joe Faulkner is a 14-year resident of nearby Oak Shadows Drive. His power has been off most of the time since Monday night. His mood became brighter since his power came back on early Wednesday afternoon. 

"I am glorious!" said Faulkner as he laughed. "It's been a real pain, believe me."

His neighbors just one street over on Shenandoah Drive had power back Tuesday morning. Why did it take more than 24 hours to get Faulkner out of the dark ? Whitfield shed some light on the question.

"The main line is just behind us, but there's different taps that feed different streets, and we're working our way up the road to get to them all," explained Whitfield.

Faulkner was patient. He realized other areas were much worse-off. For he and his wife it was only a minor inconvenience.

"We just had to go fight the traffic to get down to a place where we could find some coffee or whatever in the mornings," said Faulkner.

He knows Whitfield's crew and all the others have been working as fast as possible and it's not an easy job.

"They're out there climbing poles, cutting trees, taking the chance of getting electrocuted," said Faulkner.

"It takes a while, but we're getting there," said Whitfield.

As of late Wednesday afternoon around 7800 remained without power in the EPB service area, down from 59,000 Monday night when the phones started ringing off the hook at the EPB dispatch center. Crews will be back at work at 6 a.m. Thursday. Officials there say they hope to have everyone else back on line sometime Thursday; Friday at the latest.

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