Last Friday, hurricane-strength winds swept through the area, resulting in extensive damage to homes and business in our communities. Hundreds of trees were uprooted, taking down Tri-County Electric power poles and leaving — at its peak — more than 25,000 members without service.
“The damage was very similar to what would be seen in an ice storm,” said Tri-County Electric CEO Paul Thompson. “Although we are very aggressive with right-of-way clearing, this storm downed large trees just outside our easement breaking poles and knocking lines down from one end of our service area to the other.”
Tri-County understands the importance of having safe, reliable electricity at homes and businesses and strives to ensure its availability. When issues arise, Tri-County follows a detailed protocol to safely restore power as soon as possible.
With the recent type of storm, removing the debris can take as long as the actual repair. When a major outage occurs, Tri-County assesses the damage and implements a plan to restore service to the greatest number of our member-owners in the shortest possible time.
The first step is to ensure that transmission lines that deliver power to the substations are clear. The company inspects the substations and begins the process of clearing the main three phase distribution lines, with a primary focus on the lines that serve essential facilities like hospitals, water/sewer treatment plants and emergency management facilities. When those steps are complete, Tri-County begins to focus on the repairs that will result in restoration of power to the greatest number of member-owners.
Typically, when cooperatives suffer extensive storm damage, neighboring utilities can provide assistance with the restoration efforts. The recent storm was so large that it impacted virtually every utility in Kentucky and Tennessee, eliminating the possibility for assistance. Tri-County’s engineering, operations, control center and warehouse personnel worked tirelessly throughout the restoration process to ensure that power was restored as soon as possible.
Many individuals and businesses donated food and water to staff.
Tri-County understands the frustration of those who were without power for a prolonged period of time after last Friday’s severe weather. Tri-County appreciates the patience and understanding of our member-owners.
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