Anderson Co. emergency services tells community not to ‘panic buy’ amid Colonial pipeline shutdown

Local News

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — Anderson County Emergency Services officials told residents to only get the fuel that you actually need, as Colonial Pipeline Company’s temporary shutdown continues.

County representatives said on Tuesday that with normal fuel usage there will be ample fuel supply.

They’re encouraging people not to panic buy.

“We’re not in a position where people need to be doing things like that because what ultimately ends up happening, is they get an excess of fuel and they take it out of their neighbors’ tanks where that fuel would be available for other folks who are also in need,” said David Baker, Director of Anderson County Emergency Services.

According to Colonial Pipeline’s website, it typically transports more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily across the country, this includes in Anderson County.

“Keep in mind, Colonial is the pipeline. It’s the actual supply of fuel to the tanks. Colonial wouldn’t necessarily be independent retailers or independent suppliers here locally. They would ultimately be the supplier to those folks,” Baker said.

“We have two pipelines, major pipelines that pump fuel directly into our area,” Baker said. “Colonial Pipeline obviously is the one that is in discussion right now, where they’ve had a cyber attack, and are proactively going through their system and trying to get things restored,” he said.

“Obviously just get what you’re going to need to make it through the week and hopefully by that time, we’ll see restoration and an increase in supply,” Baker said.

Governor Henry McMaster released a Facebook message echoing the same thing.

“My office has been in constant contact with the Office of Regulatory Staff regarding the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline and we stand ready to take any additional action that may be necessary,” the message read.

“Because our state is currently under a state of emergency, transportation waivers and price gouging laws are in effect to facilitate fuel delivery and protect consumers,” the message continued. “There is no need to rush to top off your gas tanks or hoard gas – the pipeline is expected to resume operations by the end of the week.”

Baker said Colonial Pipeline has already restored some of its system in certain areas.

“Some areas of their lines have been restored. They’re slowly but surely working their way through their system,” Baker said. “Now as far as the fuel coming directly into our area that comes into the Belton area, that has not yet been. But some of the other portions of their pipeline have been.”

Baker also said they have fuel coming in from another pipeline, as well.

“Now keep in mind we do have Plantation Pipeline, so we do have fuel that is still getting brought right here locally to us,” said Baker. “And we also have the ability to in the lower part of the state where pipelines are feeding down there to have additional trucked up here.”

Regarding their own emergency cars, Baker said that they have underground storage used to fuel all emergency cars.

“From a county perspective, we have underground storage here that we fuel all of our emergency vehicles and county vehicles and speaking with the fleet manager this morning, we’re in pretty good shape in on what we’re sitting on,” Baker said.

Baker said they are still being very careful, and he encourages everyone else to do the same.

“We’ll be using fuel as needed. Certainly not going to be stocking up, topping of tanks on vehicles that we’re not utilizing,” Baker said.

“What we do encourage people to do is to be very conscious of what their needs are for the next few days to a week, and don’t worry about next week and two weeks down the road and things like that,” Baker said.

Anderson County Emergency Services said it is in constant communication with the State Emergency Management Division and Colonial Pipeline Co. Baker said Colonial Pipeline hopes to have everything fully restored by the end of the week.

Governor Roy Cooper also signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in North Carolina, and temporarily suspending motor vehicle fuel regulations to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state. 

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