Semo Electric dispels frequently heard rumors

The following information comes from Semo Electric Cooperative.

"Your company has refused help. Even Ameren offered help and you refused."

False:

As more information about the impending ice storm was known, SEMO Electric Cooperative had crews in place in the area, ready to go to work in case there was an outage. SEMO Electric also had crews on standby, ready to move into the area in a short notice in order to help. Since the storm has hit the area, SEMO Electric has brought in more crews and is placing those additional crews daily, where they are needed the most.
To this day, Ameren UE has not offered any help to SEMO Electric Cooperative. Ameren UE has had its own challenges to focus on. There is no animosity between SEMO Electric and Ameren UE. As a matter of fact, not too long ago, Cooperative crews from around the state of Missouri went to St. Louis to help Ameren UE with a major outage in that city. In the utility business, we are all a part of the same family and help each other out when the time arises.

"You're only working 8 hours a day so that you don't have to pay overtime."

False:

First of all, a crew cannot work 24 hours a day, that would be impossible. Our first thought in any situation for our linemen is safety. After a crew works so many hours, they need their rest. Their job depends greatly on their ability to think, and after working so many hours out in the elements, that ability begins to wane. Our crews are on the job by 6 a.m. every morning and are out of our gate heading home by between 9 to 9:30 p.m.. In all, based upon their contract with SEMO Electric, crews are paid for a 17 hour day.

"You weren't prepared for this storm."

True:
No one could be prepared for this type of storm. There is no way for anyway to truly know how much damage a storm is going to cause when it moves through an area. All we can do is look at past experience and have crews standing by waiting to go fix the damage that is left behind. We estimate that 2,600 poles are either lying on the ground or damaged so severely, that they will need to be replaced. Currently, SEMO Electric has 1,300 new poles on site, with more being transported.

"We have never seen a truck in our area."

One of the biggest misconceptions during an outage, is that since you cannot see a crew near your house, we must not be working on your area. This is simply not true in most cases. Sometimes damage that is several miles away can affect your area. For instance, in the case of this storm, we have many transmission lines down from the company that we purchase power. If their transmission lines are down, that mean we cannot power a sub-station and if we cannot power a sub-station, then we cannot power your home. A gentleman from Bell City recently called our office during the outage and said the same thing and was quite upset over the fact that he had not seen a SEMO crew in his area. That night, still without seeing a SEMO crew, electricity was restored in Bell City.

"I stopped one of your crews to let them know about a line that was down near our house."

We understand you wanting to help to get electricity restored as soon as possible, but please do not stop, nor distract our linemen from doing their jobs. First of all, if you need to report damage, please call our offices and report the damage. The linemen only go where they are told to go by the dispatcher back in the office. They cannot and will not go where you tell them to go. So please, call the office and let them know.
Secondly, distracting a lineman from his job can cause injury and harm to the lineman and/or to you. Our lineman, wear special equipment to help protect them from the challenges they face and have to keep their heads while working on lines that are sometimes energized. You distracting them can cause the loss of life, so please allow our linemen to do their jobs.