Crews, Equipment to Help Restore Power Systems Destroyed by Hurricane Katrina
More crews and equipment from Virginia and Maryland electric cooperatives are headed to Mississippi to help rebuild and restore the power systems destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
A crew of 7 linemen from Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) in Fredericksburg,Va. and a crew of 13 from Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) in Hughesville, Md. are driving to Lucedale, Ms. to aid Singing River Electric Power Association.
The REC and SMECO crews are driving 5 bucket trucks, 3 digger derricks with pole trailers and 3 pick-up trucks south.
A total of 37 electric cooperative crewmembers are now on their way to Mississippi, including crews from Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, Arrington, Va.; Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Chase City, Va.; Prince George Electric Cooperative, Waverly, Va.; and Southside Electric Cooperative, Crewe, Va.
All of the electric cooperatives dispatching crews are members of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC) that is coordinating the relief efforts.
Singing River Electric Power Association serves over 62,000 customer-members in six counties in Mississippi and two counties in Alabama.
Ron Stewart, Senior Vice President of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi reported that over 64% of Mississippi's electric cooperative customers were without service on August 31.
"While things are bad, that's when cooperative family members rise to the occasion," Stewart said. "Our cry for help has been heard and our cooperative friends have, without hesitation, sent help."
In addition to the crews from Maryland and Virginia, crews from electric cooperatives in Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, North and South Carolina are also on their way to Mississippi, Stewart added.
Richard Johnstone, VMDAEC executive vice president, noted, "Those of us in Virginia and Maryland understand the devastation a hurricane can cause. When Isabel struck two years ago, our sister cooperatives from throughout the nation sent crews here to help us. Our member co-ops will continue to provide all the assistance we can to help our sister co-ops in Mississippi and the other areas hit by Katrina rebuild and restore their vital systems."
The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association provides training, communications, governmental relations and other services to the 16 member-owned electric cooperatives that serve the three Mid-Atlantic States. It is based in Glen Allen, Va.