With the latest winter storm causing widespread power outages from Missouri to the Carolinas, electric cooperative crews worked through the weekend restoring service and were still in the field Monday.
“The storm caused nearly 20,000 outages scattered around the state,” said Jim McCarty, editor of Rural Missouri magazine. Snow and ice began falling in the state late Friday, with the heaviest accumulations occurring the following day.
More than 20 inches of snow was reported in the Kansas City area, as co-op crews and contractors reduced the number of outages to about 12,000 Saturday.
“By early Sunday morning, those numbers had shrunk below 8,000 as reinforcements from other electric cooperatives relieved those who had been working for as long as 24 hours,” McCarty said.
Line crews working in the service territory of Butler, Missouri-based Osage Valley Electric used track vehicles to pull trucks through muddy terrain. Members of Co-Mo Electric pitched in with tractors, trucks and other equipment to help crews from their Tipton, Missouri-based co-op reach areas where downed lines and broken poles needed to be replaced or repaired.
The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives said reported outages had been reduced to just 170 Monday afternoon.
Freezing rain and snow caused widespread problems in parts of North Carolina, particularly for co-ops serving members in the Appalachian region. State officials reported more than 130,000 electric meters out of service between Saturday night and Sunday morning, including members of electric co-ops and investor-owned utility customers.
Crews were busy restoring service to about 3,300 co-op meters Monday.
In Virginia, several co-ops serving members primarily in the western part of the state reported weather-related outages Saturday and Sunday.
Southside Electric Cooperative received help from 10 other co-ops as crews worked to restore service to about 11,000 of its members. Crews were working their way through outages affecting about 5,000 meters Monday afternoon.
“Snow and ice have caused trees and limbs to fall, breaking equipment and infrastructure,” said Ronald O. White, vice president of member and public relations for Crewe, Virginia-based Southside EC. He warned members Sunday that some might face extended outages due to the amount of damage and challenging access to rights of way in certain areas.
Derrill Holly is a staff writer at NRECA.