More than 155 linemen from 20 utilities in Missouri worked in the Co-Mo Electric Cooperative service territory Thursday and made major progress on power outages that resulted from a winter storm Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Linemen began Thursday at 6 a.m. facing 8,100 members without power. Working late into the evening, they were able to reduce that to below 4,000.
As of 7 a.m. Friday, Co-Mo was reporting that less than 3,400 members were without electricity - down from over 12,000 Tuesday.
Co-Mo's 2,300-square-mile service territory was the hardest hit electric system in the state, according to the cooperative, with around a foot of heavy, wet snow breaking poles and crossarms and tearing down power lines.
Since the first reported outage around midnight Tuesday, crews have been working long hours, battling winds, snow, cold and muddy terrain to get power back to members. Challenging terrain and additional snowfall Wednesday hampered efforts, but as more crews from other state utilities responded with mutual aid for Co-Mo on Thursday, progress quickened.
"You guys are doing momentous work, and believe me, it's not going unappreciated," Co-Mo CEO/General Manager Ken Johnson told the crews before they headed out Friday morning. "We've got another big day out there, but thank you. That seems very inadequate for what's been accomplished."
Operations Manager Chuck Tuttle said the cooperative spirit is shining through.
"This is what happens when good people work together," he said.
Focus areas for Friday include but are not limited to Prairie Home, Pilot Grove, Fortuna, Versailles, Gravois Mills, Stover and California. Work, though, is going on in other areas.
Senior Service Planning Technician Brian Hunsburger said there are more than a dozen poles that need to be replaced and numerous sections of downed wire that needs to be untangled.
Johnson thanked the members for their continued patience.
"We know there's a level of frustration in the members who are not back online. Some of our employees are those members, so we see it first hand," he said. "We're making progress and we will get there."