Clay County Electric Co-op continues ice storm cleanup

Friday, February 6, 2009

Work is continuing as efforts to restore power to customers of Clay County Electric is underway.

According to manager of member services Nick Manatt, approximately 280 additional workers from Missouri, Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi and Louisiana are in the area lending their assistance in replacing downed power poles and lines.

Manatt said approximately 15,000 poles were downed along the company's 2,700 miles of lines through Clay, Greene and Randolph Counties in Arkansas and Butler, Oregon and Ripley Counties in Missouri. The company has approximately 12,800 meter points which represent its individual customers.

At the moment, Manatt says power has been restored to approximately 15 percent of Clay County Electric customers. There is no estimate at this time as to when power will be restored to all customers.

"(Power will be restored) as soon as we can safely do it," Manatt said. "We're working crews from before daylight until after dark every day."

The difficulties stem from the amount of damage caused by the ice storm. According to Manatt, workers still are at work rebuilding the feeder lines which deliver power from the substations. On a positive note, power has been restored to all substations in the area, showing that one of the first steps has been successfully completed.

"We're doing all we can do," Manatt said. "We're asking for people's patience during this time."

As workers are about, Manatt reminds residents to check their generators to ensure they are properly connected. The safest measure would be for homes using generators to disconnect and turn them off if not absolutely necessary when workers are nearby. If a generator is not properly connected, the best case scenario for when workers ground the power lines leading to the home is blowing the generator. The worst case scenario is backfeed from the generator traveling through the transformer and electrocuting workers.

"There are several safety concerns when using generators," Manatt said. "It's best, when possible, if people will disconnect them when we're in the area."

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