BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Thousands of people are still without power across Alabama. The latest numbers from Alabama Power Company is around 200,000 without electricity.
People are not happy about the prospects of going into a cold weekend without power, internet or heat.
At one point, there were more than half a million customers without electricity. Those numbers are way down, but some folks are still waiting in the dark.
Alabama Power crews are continuing to work long hours to restore power across the state working from Dauphin Island all the way into central Alabama.
A utility spokesman said Zeta was a perfect storm for causing problems. The ground was already saturated and sustained winds caused scattered outages and damage across the state for hundreds of miles - sometimes in rural, remote areas. It was scattered outages at times and not in concentrated areas. The total destruction of lines is causing a need for a complete rebuild in some of those areas.
"A line is down and sometimes you have to trek to those locations and then you have to get the equipment there. Sometimes we have to replace actual poles. You have to get those poles out to those remote locations. Get the holes dug and the lines up,” said Anthony Cook with Alabama Power Company.
There have also been issues with access. Getting to the damaged areas has been difficult at times because downed trees slowed down their access.
Cook said once they began assessing the damage Thursday, it was quickly realized it was going to take multiple days to get the job done. The utility is not setting a timeline for restoring service at this time.
You might be seeing power crews out and about in your neighborhood. That includes Shelby and Chilton counties. The restoration is taking time in part because it has to be done carefully and correctly.
WBRC saw crews in Clanton Thursday, battling high winds at times. That was slowing down the workload. Weather conditions are far better Friday.
“We want to do things quickly, but we have to do it safely. We don’t want to get anybody injured handling a live wire or anything like that. It is a challenge for our guys,” Cook said.
That means setting new poles correctly and wiring everything so it’s safe and secure.
The power company is asking for patience and they have apologized to folks finding it difficult to even report outages on their website.