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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

A power outage last month in Hartsville exposed a problem in the county’s phone and Internet service, according to County Mayor Stephen Chambers.

Chambers told members of the Emergency Services Committee that during a Feb. 12 outage, the county temporarily lost both services. The county’s phone system utilizes Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) rather than traditional phone lines.

While there is a generator to provide backup power when necessary, Chambers said it failed to function during that outage.

“The generator did not kick on and so the phone and Internet service for the entire county, save the Sheriff’s Department, went down,” Chambers said. “The Sheriff’s Department could not contact the EMA service.”

The Sheriff’s Office uses its own system, as required by law.

Chambers said his office had looked into a battery backup system and said Tri-County quoted just over $21,000. He said he wanted to solicit further companies to see if a better price could be found before recommending a purchase.

“I would like to get some options on that because no one expected it to be $21,000,” Chambers said. “Chief (Deputy Wayland) Cothron said we are required by law to have at least one hour battery backup. Right now, we have zero.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.