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Crews restoring power to area

By By MICHELE GERLACH Publisher
As order has slowly emerged from the chaos left by Hurricane Ivan in the Brewton area, the question now on the minds of most is "When will I get power?"
Alabama Power and Southern Pine Electric Cooperative officials both say, "Soon."
Alabama Power has set a goal of having power restored to 99 percent of its customers by the end of the day Friday, Sept. 24. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, 57 percent of Alabama Power's Mobile District customers had power. At 5:30 p.m. Alabama Power's Bernie Fogarty estimated that power had been restored to 23 percent of its Escambia-Conecuh customers.
Five hundred additional workers moved into the Brewton area Tuesday to help make electrical service a reality again.
Southern Pine spokeswoman Melanie Harrison said Tuesday morning power had been restored to 30 percent of the company's customers.
The company was not providing any estimated times of restoration.
Although the extra crews have helped local companies restore power, housing and feeding those workers has been a logistical challenge.
Local manager Danny D'Andrea said Tuesday that about 300 workers are sleeping in the T.R. Miller gym and being fed out of the school's cafeteria.
Harrison said even when temporary housing can be arranged in a gymnasium or church, locating towels, sheets and pillows for 400 to 500 people can be challenging. The cooperative organization has helped make those arrangements, she said.
Harrison said a number of local groups have helped provide food for the crews. Tuesday, a group from the First United Methodist Church in Andalusia planned to deliver homemade desserts to the crews in Brewton.
She said Mark Gray, minister of Covenant Community Church in Elba, called and said because people in his community had been through disasters, they wanted to help. The church planned to move a cooking trailer to Brewton and set up Thursday, Friday and Saturday to help feed linemen and other disaster workers.
Alabama Power released information to the media on Tuesday indicating that the areas hardest hit by Ivan in the Mobile District are Atmore, Monroeville, Bay Minette and Brewton.