December 13, 2007

New Ice Causes More Electric Co-Op Outages

After a day of progress restoring power, several Missouri electric cooperatives saw much of their work undone as additional ice fell across the state Monday night. Approximately 38,000 electric cooperative members are now without power, up from an estimated 28,000 on Monday morning.

Electric cooperatives in northwest Missouri added to the outage total as a heavy swath of ice fell from a line north of Kansas City to Milan. Previously untouched cooperatives, including Atchison-Holt Electric, Rockport; Farmersí Electric, Chillicothe; Grundy Electric Cooperative, Trenton; Macon Electric Cooperative, Macon; Platte-Clay Electric, Kearney; North-Central Missouri Electric, Milan, and United Electric, Maryville; reported outages Tuesday morning.

Missouri1s electric cooperatives enacted their Emergency Assistance Program Dec. 9 as the season1s first ice storm pounded rural power lines in a band stretching from Joplin to St. Louis. Nearly 35,000 electric cooperative members were initially without power in the wake of the devastating storm. That number had fallen to 28,000 Monday as crews worked through the night to restore power.

With the second wave of storms, lines previously repaired as well as additional untouched lines began falling under the weight of the ice.

Meanwhile some electric co-ops that had crews on loan to neighboring systems had to recall those crews to service their own lines. To help in the effort, linemen and equipment from the Missouri Bootheel and Arkansas electric cooperatives are being used.

Estimates on when power will be fully restored are not yet available as electric co-ops assess todayís damage and brace for the possibility of even more ice tonight. Warmer temperatures and melting ice in the southern parts of the state are helping the situation, although mud is also becoming a problem.

Electric coop systems are reporting that they are making headway in the restoration effort. Additional crews will be lending a hand to the most heavily damaged electric cooperatives as those crews get their own lines repaired.

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