An early February ice storm left thousands of Tennessee electric co-op consumer-members without power Thursday, Feb. 3. The system left upwards of a 1/2 inch of ice in some places, the added weight bringing down trees and power lines as wind speeds topped 30 miles an hour.
Power outages were first reported Thursday morning by co-ops along the Mississippi River in far west Tennessee. By Thursday afternoon more than 20,000 co-op members were without power. Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in Somerville had more than 10,000 members without power, nearly half of its total membership. Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation, Gibson Electric Membership Corporation, Forked Deer Electric Membership Corporation and Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation also received damage from the storm.
“We are very sorry, but this will be a lengthy outage for some customer-members,” said Andrea Kee, spokesperson for Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in a social media post on Thursday evening. “This morning we reached out to other cooperatives for help, and we are happy to report that additional crews are headed this way to help with the storm repair. We sincerely appreciate our customer-members’ patience and support. Your comments on our social media pages and phone calls do not go unnoticed.”
“Crews have made great progress overnight getting larger outages resolved,” said Billy Gordon, vice president of technical operations for Southwest Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation in Brownsville. “For those members still without power, progress today will be slow as linemen spread out to work smaller individual outages one-by-one. Of our 137 different outages, 65 affect a single member.”
“We will restore service to everyone as quickly as we safely can,” said Dan Rodamaker, President and CEO of Gibson Electric Membership Corporation. “However, with a growing number of outage trouble spots and with the downed lines and broken poles that ice can cause, repairs may be time-intensive.”
Additional crews from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation, Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative and Pickwick Electric Cooperative, along with multiple contract construction crews, are assisting with restoration efforts this morning.