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TALLADEGA, Ala. – Undaunted by the magnitude of outages facing them, Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative crews fought hard today to restore service. They successfully returned electric service to more than half of their members who had been impacted.

Tropical Storm Zeta tore through the Cooperative’s service territory leaving in its wake nearly 17,000 CVEC members without electricity. Crews were staged early Thursday morning and ready. Once the worst of Zeta had passed, they got to work.

“We are extremely proud of what our crews accomplished today,” said Leland Fuller, CVEC General Manager.  “Tropical Storm Zeta is without doubt one of the worst storms to have hit our distribution system. It certainly affected more CVEC members than any storm the Cooperative’s history.”

The biggest issue crews encountered was downed trees and damaged structures. While not always breaking poles, the impact of trees often breaks crossarms, insulators and other hardware. Clearing the lines of trees and other debris is the first step. The next step is repairing or replacing the damaged structure and hardware.

“Our crews are working as quickly as they can, but this kind of damage takes time to fix,” Mr. Fuller said. “We will get all services restored.”

As well, due to the severity of the damage, early Thursday Cooperative officials sent a request for assistance, and their fellow cooperatives responded. Crews from Meriweather Lewis Electric Cooperative in Centerville, TN, Pickwick Electric Cooperative in Selmer, TN, and Chickasaw Electric Cooperative in Somerville, TN, will start work Friday morning to help rebuild facilities and restore electric services.

“We don’t like it when our members are without power overnight, but this is one of those times when Mother Nature reminded us that she will have the last word,” Mr. Fuller said. “Our crews have fought the good fight today. They will be going home soon to rest so they can start fresh tomorrow. Many of our employees are also members themselves, so some of them are going to a home without power themselves.”

Members who rely on power for medically necessary equipment should relocate immediately to a site that does have electricity.

CVEC consumers who have already reported their outage do not need to call and report it again. Workers have their report. For information about the Cooperative’s progress restoring services, please follow CVEC on Facebook and Twitter and visit outage.coosavalleyec.com to see where outages are and how many are still without power.

CVEC officials urge caution as members journey outside to assess damage around their own homes. The most common cause of outages from storms such as Zeta is trees falling down and taking power lines with them. Those power lines may still be energized. Stay clear of them.

Also, with the large numbers of outages, CVEC officials say it’s going to take time to restore all services. Consumers who are without power should follow these tips:

  • Make sure your kitchen range is off, both the surface and the oven.
  • Turn off all unnecessary appliances.
  • Avoid opening the freezer and refrigerator doors. A full, freestanding freezer will keep food at freezing temperatures about 2 days; a half-full freezer about 1 day.
  • When power comes back on, slowly switch on your appliances and lights and gradually return your thermostat to its normal setting.
  • Leave your porch light on so CVEC workers will know when your power has been restored.

Coosa Valley Electric, which serves more than 17,500 consumers in Talladega, St. Clair, Shelby, Clay, Etowah and Calhoun counties, is a Touchstone Energy® cooperative.  Nationwide, some 1,000 cooperatives provide power to rural America, and more than 700 of those are members of the Touchstone Energy® alliance.


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