Electric cooperatives response to devastating tornadoes

More than 500 linemen work to restore power

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Surrounded by debris, destruction and an uncertain future for the western Kentucky communities they call home, electric cooperative employees, mutual aid workers and contractor crews are focusing on power restoration after an unprecedented series of massive and deadly tornadoes.

More than 500 personnel are working to restore power in western Kentucky. Crews from more than twenty fellow cooperatives in several states are assisting line technicians at West Kentucky RECC, Warren RECC, Gibson EMC and Pennyrile Electric. From a high of more than 80,000 co-op consumer-members who lost power Saturday, co-ops are working to restore service to about 10,000 members Monday night.

“Our hearts are heavy with the loss of life, homes, businesses and livelihoods in our communities,” says Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives and United Utility Supply Cooperative. “The co-op mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve, and co-op crews are doing what they can to try to help our members recover from this disaster. I want to personally thank the crews for their incredible response within such a short time.”

Louisville-based United Utility Supply Cooperative has delivered multiple truckloads of electric materials and supplies to affected co-ops, deploying office staff to join UUS truck drivers and deliver extra loads, as needed. Aware of the forecasts for severe weather on Friday night, UUS worked with its transformer vendor, ERMCO, to secure an extra supply of transformers to be able to deliver them where they were most needed after the storms. Despite supply chain concerns, UUS has been able to deliver needed supplies to co-ops.

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