ASSN OF MO ELECTRIC CO-OPS
HEAVY SNOW CAUSES OUTAGES FOR ELECTRIC CO-OPS
Heavy snow from the latest winter storm to strike Missouri caused outages for electric cooperatives across central, western and northern Missouri. Crews battled the outages throughout the night and had many members back on before they realized they were out.
About 24,000 members were affected at the peak out the storm. Outage numbers were all over the place as members were reconnected and new outages occurred early Tuesday morning. Crews from other electric cooperatives out of harm’s way have been dispatched to help Boone, Callaway and Howard electric cooperatives through the emergency assistance program at the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
"Crews are continuing to make progress but it is a constant battle to turn each line back on. We hope daybreak will provide a more viewable path for our linemen so we can make better progress," said Co-Mo Electric Cooperative Operations Manager Chuck Tuttle, summing up what was taking place across the state. “The biggest problem we're having right now is getting to the outages. Our trucks are getting stuck in snowdrifts. We're working hard though.”
Co-Mo fared the worst this time around, with a peak of 8,000 members losing power overnight. Also hard hit was Southwest Electric with 4,000 outages.
A similar situation faced Macon Electric Cooperative, where crews fought slick roads to restore power to 125 members overnight. Trucks were getting stuck, but all hands were on deck well before daylight. As the morning progressed, however, outage numbers increased to 500 as a line near Salisbury went off line.
Boone Electric saw 3,384 of its members without power. Callaway Electric had 1,992 outages as snow fell but by daybreak, those numbers had gone down to 1,500. Crews from Crawford Electric and contractors were helping restore power. Howard Electric in central Missouri was reporting outages across the system but did not have a handle on the numbers yet.
Central Missouri Electric, Sedalia, was hit with 500 outages. Platte-Clay Electric, Kearney, which reported 32 mph winds in its service area north of Kansas City, saw 1,200 without power.
At Farmers’ Electric Cooperative, Chillicothe, there were approximately 600 members without power primarily in the eastern portion of its service area. Areas affected included Chillicothe, Nettleton, Avalon and Meadville. Heavy snow on weakened tree limbs was to blame, and high winds compounded the problem.
Others affected included West Central Electric Cooperative, Higginsville, which had 1,437 out, mostly in Johnson County around Warrensburg. Three Rivers Electric Cooperative, Linn, had 994 outages. Laclede Electric, Lebanon, reported 500 outages.
New-Mac Electric, Neosho, lost power to four of its substations overnight, affecting members around Diamond Grove, Spring City, Spurgeon and Wentworth. However, these were back online by morning.
Sac-Osage Electric, El Dorado Springs, had 1,500 members without power, but reported no damage to poles or crossarms. Osage Valley Electric, Butler, saw 1,300 outages. Barton County Electric, Lamar, had 500 without power.
In northeast Missouri, Missouri Rural, Palmyra, had 200, and Ralls County, New London, 300 without power.
Across the state, strong winds were causing galloping lines that blew breakers designed to protect power lines from damage. This condition is caused when strong winds make the lines bounce up and down until they finally touch. Usually, these issues are easy to fix, provided the crews can navigate the slick roads.
Snow storms such as this one typically do not cause outages that are as lengthy as ice storms, which can snap poles and cause trees to fall into lines, breaking the wire. However, the heavy snow burden will force cedar and pine trees into lines causing outages, and when the snow comes off the lines these trees can snap upright again causing more outages. Also, road conditions are delaying the response.
Missouri’s electric cooperatives encourage everyone to stay away from downed power lines, which may still be energized.
Barton County Electric, Lamar: 500
Boone Electric, Columbia: 3,384
Callaway Electric, Fulton: Co-Mo Electric, Tipton: 8,000
Central Missouri Electric, Sedalia: 500
Consolidated Electric, Mexico: 175
Farmers’ Electric, Chillicothe: 600
Laclede Electric, Lebanon: 500
Macon Electric, Macon: 125
Missouri Rural: 200
Osage Valley Electric, Butler: 1,300
Platte-Clay Electric, Kearney: 742
Ralls County, New London: 300
Sac Osage Electric, El Dorado Springs: 1,500
Southwest Electric, Bolivar: 4,000
Three Rivers Electric, Linn: 994
West Central Electric, Higginsville: 1,437
(CONTACT: Jim McCarty (573) 680-2451)