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Dominion Energy moves some customers to Mid-Carolina to improve utility service on Lake Murray

Cayce, SC 12/01/2021 – A 1,700-foot long power line dropping 40 feet into the waters of Lake Murray would normally be bad news for Keller Kissam, Dominion Energy South Carolina’s (DESC) president of Electric Operations.

But last month was an exception. Kissam and Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperatives (MCEC) president Bob Paulling watched from a nearby boat ramp recently as linemen followed safety protocols before cutting two spans of a deenergized line which previously served customers along the lake’s western reaches. After each span hit the water, other crews on the opposite shorelines pulled it to shore with a winch and takeup reel.

It helps address employee safety, public safety and customer service,” Kissam said. “All three of those come together with this project in an absolutely wonderful way.”

It was the culmination of an ongoing partnership between Dominion Energy and Mid-Carolina. The utilities reached an agreement earlier this year to reassign roughly 55 customers as both companies work to improve reliability and operational efficiency for those who live along Lake Murray.

“Mid-Carolina is positioned well to serve a small pocket of customers we have across the lake,” Kissam said. “The line we’ve taken down was just serving a small group of customers, so it makes sense that those customers become members of Mid-Carolina. As a result, we can eliminate these very large poles and the wire that's going across the lake. It’s more efficient and safer for everyone involved."

Stretching from shore to shore, the line constructed in the mid-1970s was originally designed to serve a handful of meters across the lake. The customer reassignment removes the operational challenge for linemen when a fallen tree or equipment failure caused a problem on these remote lines.

“I wanted to see our utilities working together to solve a problem,” Paulling said. “We all live in the communities we serve. And that's what's important about this is just making life better for our members and Dominion's customers.

Earlier this year, the South Carolina Public Service Commission approved an agreement between DESC and MCEC which reassigned some customers and power lines between both companies. The agreement improved service for those customers by reducing the miles of infrastructure needed to reach them and providing more options for redundancy, which should result in even more efficient and reliable service for all involved customers.

“It’s cleaning up the service territories from a safety and an operational perspective,” Paulling said. “It will help provide better service to these communities.”

This joint project marked the first of what both utilities hope will be several line removals along Lake Murray. Kissam and Paulling said they will research additional opportunities for collaboration to continue to serve customers more efficiently, safely and reliably.

PHOTO: The line being cut

VIDEO: Watch the line as it's being taken down

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