An estimated 1,400 customers of Farmers’ Electric Cooperative — largely in the area of Livingston and Carroll counties — were without power at some point in time as a result of the mid-spring snowstorm that began Thursday and ended Friday. The last of the customers without power were brought online early Sunday morning.
FEC spokeswoman Chasity Anderson estimates that around 45 utility poles within its service area had broken because of the weather.
“Although the breaking of the poles is a huge deal, the biggest thing causing problems are when the lines get criss-crossed,” she said. “The snow and ice build up on the lines. Then when all that breaks off at the same time, it makes the line go down and bounce back up. The lines get entangled.”
A lot of the outages were due to lines getting criss-crossed, Anderson said.
“We had to find where they were criss-crossed, get them untangled, power them back up and get them restored.”
Although power has been restored to its customers, work will continue making storm-related repairs.
“People will see work crews out this week,” Anderson said. “A lot of the fixes made were temporary just to get our members back on. This week, we are going back to those areas to make those fixes permanent.”
FEC’s first trucks were dispatched at 3:30 a.m. Friday. In addition to FEC’s 22 linemen working to restore power, there were 12 mutual aid workers sent from other electric cooperatives (Howard, Boone, Central and Macon).
The mutual aid helpers came in after taking care of power issues within their own systems.
“Some had trouble with the same storm, but not as bad as what we had,” Anderson said. “They made fixes in their areas and came and helped us out.”
FEC also utilized more than 20 workers from contractors Kiowa and R&M Pole Line Construction who arrived late Friday morning.
“Everyone was helping,” Anderson said. Large equipment had to be used to reach many of the broken poles.
“A lot of our poles were in areas that were largely inaccessible,” she said. “It took time to make those fixes.”
FEC gets its power from NW Electric; however, the issues Chillicothe Municipal Utilities and other distributors experienced were not realized on FEC’s system. The situation caused some of FEC’s lines to blink and some Chillicothe industrial park customers turned on their generators until they were sure their power quality could be restored.
At the end of Friday, there were still 1,100 customers without power. By 10:30 Saturday night, there were 49 customers still without power. However, by 1:30 a.m., Sunday, power was restored to the the last 49 customers.
Page 2 of 2 - The power outage also affected the eastern edge of Caldwell County.