Electric cooperatives to help others hit by Isaac - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Electric cooperatives to help others hit by Isaac

Black River Electric Cooperative has vehicles ready to help with power outages in the South. Black River Electric Cooperative has vehicles ready to help with power outages in the South.
(KFVS) -

At least three electric cooperatives from southeast Missouri have committed workers, materials, and vehicles to assist other cooperatives in the Gulf hit by Tropical Storm Isaac.

Thirty Missouri electric cooperatives will be assisting in the relief effort. A total of 144 lineworkers with 80 pieces of equipment are set to arrive by the weekend.

SEMO Electric in Sikeston, Black River Electric Cooperative in Fredericktown, and Citizens Electric in Ste. Genevieve plan to assist cooperatives in the South.

SEMO Electric is sending three people, two trucks, and a trailer. They are tentatively committing for one week, but they may commit more people once the storm has passed through the Heartland.

Black River is committing six vehicles and eight workers for two weeks. They may commit more to a continued recovery.

Six Citizens Electric linemen and three trucks will leave early Friday morning, heading to the Baton Rouge suburb of Greenwell Springs, La., to help with the power restoration effort in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. The CEC crews are planning to stay for six or seven days.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 100,000 members of the Louisiana's largest electric cooperative, Dixie Electric Membership Corporation in Greenwell Springs, were without electricity. DEMCO's service territory includes seven southeast Louisiana parishes — Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa and West Feliciana — which are among the hardest-hit areas.

Several of the state's 47 co-ops are holding back crews, according to the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Other systems could not send crews because they are building line extensions to serve wells being drilled under Gov. Jay Nixon's emergency drought relief effort, AMEC said.

Many electric cooperative systems on the western side of Louisiana are already back in service and are able to dispatch crews to assist territories in the eastern part of the state, according to Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives.

This widespread outage isn't the first for Dixie Electric. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita crippled the co-op's entire service territory. DEMCO personnel worked with more than 500 contractors and cooperative employees from around the country worked to restore power to most DEMCO members within 10 days. Also in 2008, 100 percent of DEMCO's members were without power following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. It took crews less than two weeks to restore service, according to Citizen's Electric.

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