February 5, 2009

Tri-County Electric Sends Aid to Storm-Ravaged South

Electric cooperatives across southern Missouri continue to battle the effects of ice. The entire Bootheel region was in darkness Wednesday, and as of Thursday, January 29, the situation was not much improved. Linemen are working both transmission lines as well as distribution lines.

Jim McCarty from Rural Missouri magazine reports that in some areas, he could not find a single utility pole standing in all directions.

Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative, Hayti, reports virtually all of its system is still down. Ozark Border Electric Cooperative, Poplar Bluff, reported some progress in restoring electrical service, but outages still hover around 25,000. SEMO Electric Cooperative, Sikeston, has about 10,000 outages. In all, around 53,000 Missourians served by electric cooperatives are without power. Reports indicate the number of poles toppled or broken is the biggest issue right now.

Tri-County Electric Cooperative general manager David Ramsey stated that on January 30th the northeast Missouri cooperative dispatched a team of volunteers to help in southern Missouri.

Yesterday afternoon, Tri-County received a call for assistance, Ramsey said. We have a four-man construction crew that left for Pemiscot-Dunklin at Hayti, MO at 7 a.m., Friday morning.

The Tri-County volunteers that headed south are lead lineman Jake McAllister, lineman Norm Dunlop, lineman Vance Frederick and lineman Jim Jones. Ramsey indicated the local crew is expected be gone for seven to 10 days

Our thoughts and prayers are with our cooperative neighbors to the south and our crew as they struggle to repair the lines and restore power to their members, said Ramsey.

In the south-central Ozarks, about 4,000 members of White River Valley Electric Cooperative, Branson, remain without power, primarily in Ozark County. Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative based in West Plains saw outage numbers decrease to around 6,000.

Crews at the affected systems are working around the clock to restore power.

They are being assisted by hundreds of fresh crews from central and north Missouri. If necessary, additional support from other states will be requested.

Systems are asking people to plan for a long-term restoration effort. The cooperatives have enlisted hundreds of lineman and contractors to help with the work, and a plan is in place to rotate people in and out.

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