More than 115 volunteers from electric cooperatives in Tennessee are helping to restore electric service in North Carolina and Virginia following Hurricane Irene.
This cooperation is enabled through mutual aid agreements between electric cooperatives. A pre-storm conference call was held to work out details in advance of the storm. Many Tennessee crews were in place and ready to begin working just hours after the storm had passed.
“The cooperatives where Tennessee crews are working have experienced severe damage,” says David Callis, vice president of statewide services for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Without the assistance of other cooperatives, the recovery effort could have taken weeks.”
The 118 volunteers are taking more than 50 vehicles with them, including 26 bucket trucks. These crews will work alongside workers from the affected cooperatives, resetting poles and rebuilding power lines. Most will work 16-hour days while they are away.
While Tennessee co-ops send crews and equipment to assist others, they keep sufficient resources available to maintain and repair power lines in the case of outages. “Keeping the lights on at home always takes priority,” says Callis, “but we believe it is important to help others when they need our assistance. Cooperation among cooperatives is one of our founding principles.”
Assisting Pitt and Greene Electric Membership Corporation in Farmville, NC, will be 12 lineworkers from Mountain Electric Cooperative, Mountain City.
Assisting Community Electric Cooperative, Windsor, VA, will be four lineworkers from Holston Electric Cooperative, Rogersville, and six lineworkers from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, Shelbyville.
Assisting Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, Bowling Green, VA, will be 10 lineworkers from Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, South Carthage, 10 lineworkers from Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, Murfreesboro, and four lineworkers from Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative, Vonore.
Assisting Prince George Electric Cooperative, Waverly, VA, will be seven lineworkers from Fort Loudoun Electric Cooperative, Vonore, four lineworkers from Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, South Pittsburg, 12 lineworkers from Plateau Electric Cooperative, Oneida, 12 lineworkers from Volunteer Electric Cooperative, Decatur, 10 lineworkers from Appalachian Electric Cooperative, New Market, 17 lineworkers from Powell Valley Electric Cooperative, New Tazewell, and 10 lineworkers from Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, McMinnville.
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