ASSN OF MO ELECTRIC CO-OPS
CO-OP LINEMEN TURN TIDE IN ALL-NIGHT STORM BATTLE
Electric cooperative crews worked all night in an all-out effort to end thousands of power outages caused by heavy snowfall form Winter Storm Rocky. After a frustrating day that saw outage numbers go the wrong way, 12 electric cooperatives had more than 40,000 members without power going into Tuesday evening, Feb. 26.
Those numbers have fallen to 27,326 today.
They were assisted by more than 152 fresh line workers from 24 electric cooperatives out of the storm’s path, along with contractors and tree trimmers. Those assisting included linemen from Citizens, Black River and Howell-Oregon electric cooperatives, who just two days earlier repaired the last outages from Winter Storm Q, which devastated parts of Southeast Missouri.
At issue in this storm are countless trees burdened by the weight of the heavy, wet snow. All day Tuesday trees continued to snap, taking power lines with them as they crashed to the ground.
Among the hardest hit were Howard Electric Cooperative based in Fayette, which didn’t have a meter turning at one point. Crews were still on the job there at midnight. Neighboring Boone Electric Cooperative, Columbia, had 8,200 members without power at 10 p.m. Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, those numbers had been reduced to 5,796.
Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, Tipton, which saw a peak of 13,000 members out, was another system at Ground Zero for the storm. “This is worse than a lot of ice storms,” said Fred Franken, a cooperative lineman for 40 years, as he helped his crew in restoration efforts outside High Point. “It’s slow going out here.”
More than a foot of snow was been dumped on parts of Co-Mo country since Monday evening, and it continued to fall here through the night and into Wednesday.
“Much of our challenge is physically getting to the problem areas to make repairs,” said Ken Johnson, Co-Mo’s CEO and general manager, who summed up the frustration felt at all of the electric cooperatives affected by the storm. “We do not have a good estimate as to when the power will be fully restored.”
Callaway Electric crews were in mop-up mode Wednesday morning, with outages now under 900.
At Southwest Electric Cooperative based in Bolivar, crews trimmed outages to 5,500 by nightfall from a high of 10,000. They have been working since Monday evening when the storm began, and have completed repairs to the southern end of the system. However, work in the north is being hampered by poor road conditions, which are expected to improve today as MODOT crews concentrate on smaller routes. Still, less than 800 members in Camden and Benton counties were without power Wednesday morning as work got underway once again.
Power restoration is complete at Barton Electric, Consolidated Electric, Laclede Electric, Missouri Rural, Platte-Clay Electric, Ozark Electric and Ralls County Electric.
Here are the latest outages as of 6:30 a.m. Feb. 27:
Barton County Electric, Lamar: Restoration complete
Boone Electric, Columbia: 5,796-assistance sent
Callaway Electric, Fulton: 767-assistance sent
Central Missouri Rural Electric, Sedalia: 1,200-assistance sent
Co-Mo Electric, Tipton: 10,814-assistance sent
Consolidated Electric, Mexico: Restoration complete
Farmers’ Electric, Chillicothe: 300-assistance sent
Howard Electric, Fayette: 500-assistance sent
Laclede Electric, Lebanon: Restoration complete
Macon Electric, Macon: 350-assistance sent
Missouri Rural: Restoration complete
Osage Valley Electric, Butler: 3,600-assistance sent
Ozark Electric, Mt. Vernon: Restoration complete
Platte-Clay Electric, Kearney: Restoration complete
Ralls County, New London: Restoration complete
Sac Osage Electric, El Dorado Springs: 150-assistance sent
Southwest Electric, Bolivar: 750-assistance sent
Three Rivers Electric, Linn: 1,587-assistance sent
West Central Electric, Higginsville: 1,912-assistance sent
(CONTACT: Jim McCarty (573) 680-2451)