March 5, 2009

Local Phone Crew Aids Kentucky Storm Recovery

A pair of Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company employees were among the hundreds of volunteers that traveled to Kentucky in February to help restore the states utility infrastructure that was devastated by a severe ice storm at the end of January.

Jeff Grogan and Dewayne Andrews traveled to Murray, Kentucky, February 8th and spent two weeks working for West Kentucky Rural Telephone Cooperative Corporation to help the local phone and Internet service provider restore that service to customers who had been without the communication tools since the January 29th storm.

According to the Kentucky Public Service Commission, more than 800,000 Kentucky electric customers were believed to have been without electricity as a result of the massive ice storm. The storm caused the largest power outage on record in Kentucky, exceeding the 600,000 customers who lost power on September 14, 2008, as a result of Hurricane Ike.

The outages extend across the entire state, ranging from Ballard County in the west to Boyd County in the east. Telephone, cellular phone, cable and Internet service also was disrupted over much of the state.

“Because of the severe winter weather conditions, this will be a much more difficult and dangerous restoration task than what we faced following Hurricane Ike,” Governor Steve Beshear said. “That storm did all its damage in 12 hours and was followed by more than a week of ideal weather.”

The two local volunteers spent two weeks working in Murray, Kentucky assisting the local cooperative.

Major disasters were declared in 101 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, and 36 deaths were attributed to the storm, which left 1/3 of the state’s residents without utility service.

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