Electric Co-op General Manager explains Massive Restoration Efforts

By Christy Hendricks

PEMISCOT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Tuesday's weather won't help efforts to restore power to thousands in the Bootheel.
Two weeks after the storm, 6000 Dunklin Pemiscot Electric Co-op members remain without power.
It's really a massive undertaking.  The ice brought 80 percent of their system to the ground.  So as you can imagine it's taking lots of patience, many days, and a ton of manpower to turn the lights back on.
"Across the state of Missouri we have learned we have set more broken poles than in the history of the state of Missouri," said Charles Crawford, general manager of the Dunklin Pemiscot Electric Cooperative. "We also learned that we have exceeded across the united states in an ice storm of broken poles that we've already reset."
Make that 7000 replaced, snapped poles so far.  That number could grow to 9000.
"People came up from Louisiana, said when Hurricane Katrina hit it wasn't near as bad as what this is," Crawford said. "They're amazed at how much stuff is just laying on the ground."
Workers at the co-op work day and night to find materials and bring them in.
"We went from our employees, number 27. Now there is 1002 people including our people out here working to get this system put back together," he said.
Crews came from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Iowa.
But it's not always as easy as replacing poles, 10 of their 14 substations are still out.
As far as prioritizing...that depends on which substations will come on first as to where they concentrate their crews.
"It's not a pick a choose," Crawford said. "It's which we can get the people back on quickest."
Crawford says setting a timetable for members is difficult because the amount of line they deal with, nearly 1500 miles.
"We just run a line the other day, 120 poles in a row down so you don't know what you're dealing with," he said. 
The massive ice storm destroyed in three days what took 70 years to build.
Crawford's in the same boat as everyone else, living without power from day one.