ASSN OF MO ELECTRIC CO-OPS
Electric co-ops prepare for weather-related outages
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - As a winter storm bears down on Missouri, the state's electric cooperatives are prepared for impending inclement weather, including the possibility of damaging ice. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for nearly the entire state in effect from Wednesday evening through Thursday afternoon. Snow, sleet and freezing rain are all possibilities.
According to the NWS office in Springfield, Mo., a considerable amount of icing will be possible across much of southern Missouri. However, exact amounts are highly uncertain at this time, and the potential impacts to utility systems are unknown.
"We'll know more as the storm approaches," said Rob Land, director of risk management and training at the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC). "Damage to the electrical distribution system could be scattered or widespread, so members should make plans in case the power supply is interrupted. It's just too early to tell."
While snow does not greatly affect power supply, ice storms are among the most devastating weather events that can hit the electric grid. When ice falls, it can collect on lines. The heavy weight can snap lines, cause trees to fall into lines or topple poles. Icy roads and downed trees can hamper crews attempting to restore power.
Missouri's electric cooperatives have considerable experience dealing with winter storms. When large numbers of outages occur, AMEC initiates its Emergency Assistance Procedure. As outages occur, electric cooperatives call the association in Jefferson City to request help. The association staff coordinates bringing in crews, equipment and supplies from unaffected parts of the state to lend assistance. If the disaster is widespread, cooperatives in other states and contractors also will send help.
As the storm develops and details of any outages become clear, updates will be available online at www.amec.coop.
(Contact: Jason Jenkins, 573-659-3425, firstname.lastname@example.org)