Massive windstorm damage prompts cooperation
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 5, 2023) – With damage as widespread as any natural disaster in Kentucky electric cooperative history, co-ops are making steady progress restoring power.
At the height of the windstorm on Friday, more than 300,000 consumer-members lost power in Kentucky. As of 3:00pm (EST) on Sunday, about 74,000 members remain without power. With the ground saturated from heavy rains, heavy trucks have had difficulty accessing damaged infrastructure.
Because all 26 of Kentucky’s electric cooperatives sustained damage in this historic event, Kentucky co-op crews have stayed at home to restore power locally. As of Sunday afternoon, more than 375 personnel have arrived from 58 sister co-ops. Coordinated by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, the statewide association of co-ops, crews are working here from Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives is built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.
In addition, several co-ops are receiving assistance from other utilities within the state, as well as hundreds of contract crews. Co-ops report hundreds of snapped utility poles and thousands of power lines down across the 117 counties served by co-ops across the commonwealth.
“With the help of our fellow co-ops, power restoration work is continuing around the clock.” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “Our member co-ops understand this prolonged outage is a major inconvenience for members. We hear and share their frustration. We are thankful that most homes and businesses were spared damage in this event, but the persistent high winds and hurricane-strength gusts on Friday took a tremendous toll on electric infrastructure.”
Kentucky-based United Utility Supply Cooperative is assisting with storm response to cooperatives across the region. Its Cooperative Distribution Center in Louisville is responding with transformers, power lines, poles and all other materials needed to outfit an electric utility.