SEVIER COUNTY - Two days after hurricane-force winds uprooted trees in Sevier County, hundreds of Sevier County Electric System customers still did not have power.
Electric System superintendent Allen Robbins said outages peaked to more than 15,000 just after the storm. By Sunday evening, more than 95 percent had been restored and fewer than 100 outages were affecting just under 900 customers.
Most lingering outages are due to damages to homes' electrical systems that will require work from an electrician before SCES can restore power.
"A lot of those cases we do have is where trees have fallen on the service wire, which has pulled the stack or the meter base off the home. What we will do in those situations is we cut the service loose that an electrician can bring the service back on their home," Robbins said.
Robbins said there's no accurate way to estimate how long it will take to return services in those instances because it depends on the availability of electricians and the extent of the damages.
Forty crews including several from Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee will continue working through Sunday night.
Robbins said the damages caused by Thursdays rain and winds created electrical problems comparable to November's wildfires.
"The only difference - and it's a major difference, don't get me wrong, is the fire," Robbins said. "But as far as wind velocity and the number of trees down... We had some trees taking us down during the November incident, but this time it was a lot of large trees."
Sara Hays lives near Mynatt Park in Gatlinburg and has been without power since Thursday. She says even though she had to throw away all the food in her freezer and refrigerator, seeing the electrical crews work non-stop amazes her.
"These poor guys are right there trudging through it," Hays said.
Less than fifty yards from her home, the fire line from November's wildfires is a daily reminder Hays said keeps her grateful and keeps a few days without power in perspective.
"No power, but still we're totally so blessed."
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