South Kentucky RECC employees again helping with hurricane recovery

Submitted

Following a safety meeting, South Kentucky RECC crews left Sunday morning, bound for Beauregard Electric Cooperative in Louisiana to aid with restoration following Hurricane Delta.

South Kentucky RECC employees are among a group of 77 from area co-ops working on power restoration efforts after Hurricane Delta brought even more damage to the same area devastated by Hurricane Laura in August.

South Kentucky RECC has sent two, four-man construction crews, a three-man crew, and a two-man crew to aid with restoration.

Delta made landfall late Friday night as a strong Category 2 hurricane and swept through southwest Louisiana. At the peak of the storm, more than 90,000 electric co-op consumer-members across Louisiana were without electricity due to fallen wires, damaged poles, and severe flooding.

The storm caused substantial damage to the infrastructure at Beauregard Electric Cooperative, headquartered in DeRidder, Louisiana, where Kentucky co-op mutual aid crews are responding. Their service territory is located between Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Houston, Texas. All of the co-op's 42,648 consumer-members lost power--an event seen for only the third time in its 80-year history, including Hurricane Rita in 2005, Hurricane Laura just six weeks ago, and now Hurricane Delta.

"Our prayers go out to folks in south Louisiana who have been battered once again by another devastating storm," South Kentucky RECC CEO Ken Simmons said. "The Louisiana cooperatives, heavily impacted by Hurricane Laura in late August, have been working nonstop for the past few weeks and had not fully restored power when Hurricane Delta knocked out service to hundreds of thousands again."

Simmons adds that he appreciates these employees and their families for making sacrifices to help fellow cooperatives when they are in crisis situations.

Some of the same Kentucky co-ops that deployed crews to Hurricane Sally last month are gearing up for more hurricane relief. In September, 87 crews from 12 Kentucky electric co-ops helped restore power to a co-op in southwest Alabama.

"Our members were so supportive through Hurricane Laura, and I have confidence that we will have that support through this restoration effort as well," Kay Fox, vice president of marketing and member services for Beauregard Electric Cooperative, stated. "Our crews will join forces again with other states to restore power as quickly and safely as possible."

The list of Kentucky electric cooperatives set to deploy lineworkers also includes Cumberland Valley Electric, Fleming Mason Energy, Jackson Purchase Energy Cooperative, Kenergy, Nolin RECC, Owen Electric, Shelby Energy, Warren Rural Electric and West Kentucky RECC.

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.

"Even before Delta made landfall, co-op crew members in Kentucky were already communicating that they wanted to help," said Chris Perry, President and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. "By responding to natural disasters in other states, Kentucky co-op crews gain invaluable experience to help them respond to outages here at home. We are praying for the safety of co-op crews and the people they are helping."

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