Following Saturday’s devastating “Quad-State Tornado” which raged through Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky leaving a trail of destruction, TVPPA member systems have rallied to support fellow public power companies and the communities that were hard hit by this natural disaster. TVPPA is currently working with members to provide mutual aid to municipal power systems in need. More than 100 line crews from across our region have answered the call for assistance in the Kentucky cities of Mayfield and Bowling Green, Ky., and Lexington, Tenn.
The city of Mayfield, Ky. suffered the most severe damage from the rare December tornado, which the National Weather Service estimates was either an EF4 or possibly an EF5. Much of the city’s downtown area was destroyed and most of the 10,000-plus residents of the community (5,426 served by Mayfield Electric & Water System and the rest by West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation), are completely without power. WKRECC’s operations center was severely damaged along with many of the resources that would be needed to help restore power, including bucket trucks. Bowling Green, Ky., was also hard with an initial outage affecting 24,000 out of the 30,000 homes and businesses in the community.
The first crews aiding member systems in Kentucky arrived over the weekend. The work to restore power in Mayfield, Ky., will take many weeks due to the severity of the devastation and will require mutual aid to arrive in waves. The first municipal systems to send help to Mayfield EWS include Columbia Power & Water Systems (Columbia, Tenn.); PES Energize (Pulaski, Tenn.); Athens Utilities Board (Athens, Tenn.); and Cleveland Utilities (Cleveland, Tenn.).
Crews from Glasgow Electric Plant Board (Glasgow, Ky.); Franklin Electric Plant Board (Franklin, Ky.); Springfield Electric Department (Springfield, Tenn.); Gallatin Electric Department (Gallatin, Tenn.); Cookeville Electric Department (Cookeville, Tenn.); as well as municipal electric system crews from several cities in Georgia arrived to support power restoration to Bowling Green Municipal Utilities where power has been restored to all but approximately 4,000 customers.
Additionally, TVPPA has offered assistance to statewide associations that are providing service to cooperative utilities in Kentucky and Tennessee, including Warren, West Kentucky and Pennyrile Rural Electric Cooperative Corporations in Kentucky and Gibson Electric Membership Corporation, which serves portions of Tennessee and Kentucky.
Municipal systems from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina have also contacted TVPPA to provide assistance as future waves of support continue to be needed to restore power in the coming weeks.
In addition to manpower needs, TVPPA is seeking needed material supplies and coordinating their distribution to utilities most devastated by the storms. If your system can help meet these needs, contact Caleb Hall, TVPPA’s mutual aid coordinator, for a complete list of needs.