Power restored

On May 26, severe weather swept through the Midwest, knocking out power and causing widespread damage in its wake. However, electric cooperatives do not leave other co-ops in the dark. In the spirit of mutual aid, linework crews from 17 electric cooperatives in Illinois were dispatched to help with recovery efforts within the state and beyond.

Illinois’ southernmost electric cooperative sustained the most damage from the storm systems within the state. Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative (SIEC) received mutual aid from Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association (EECA), Monroe County Electric Cooperative and Southwestern Electric Cooperative. With the help from the line crews of other Illinois co-ops, SIEC was able to complete power restoration to all members by May 28.

“We take pride in providing reliable electricity to our members, so we thank each of you for your patience, kind words of support and understanding as we worked to restore services across our territory,” SIEC said in a statement on Facebook.

Clay Electric Co-operative was also able to complete its restoration efforts on May 28 with the help of neighboring co-op Norris Electric Cooperative.

From the same storm system, West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative (WKREC), headquartered in Mayfield, Ky., made a call for mutual aid to help restore its 20,000 outages. Crews from SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative (SEIEC), Tri-County Electric Cooperative, EECA, Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative and Clinton County Electric Cooperative were able to assist.

That Sunday evening, another storm system producing high winds came through much of the same area again, causing more widespread damage. Despite the number of outages, the line crews, along with eight other utilities and contractors, were able to help restore power to roughly 70% of the impacted areas by Monday morning. Power was fully restored on May 30.

“Over the past five days, our crews and the mutual aid crews, who showed up to provide aid and support, started their day with a mission to restore power to every WKREC member. We are proud to report that they have accomplished that task,” the co-op said in a statement on Facebook following full power restoration. “We appreciate our members’ support and kind words as we worked hard to restore power.”

Carroll Electric Cooperative Corporation in Berryville, Ark., also requested additional aid, and line crews from Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative, Illinois Electric Cooperative, Menard Electric Cooperative, Spoon River Electric Cooperative and Shelby Electric Cooperative traveled to Arkansas to help with the recovery efforts.

On May 29, further assistance was requested by the Arkansas cooperative, and crews from Adams Electric Cooperative, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, Corn Belt Energy Corporation, EECA and SEIEC headed to the state to help. Recovery efforts there were completed on June 3.

Through mutual aid, electric cooperative line crews from any co-op can arrive on the scene, ready to lend a hand after disaster strikes.