United Cooperative Services linemen have discovered massive destruction to electrical infrastructure in the wake of an ice storm that has wreaked havoc to the co-op’s western service territory.

Erath County has continued to be hardest hit, affecting members in the thousands throughout the ordeal. On top of assigning restoration to all available United crews and several contract crews, United officials also have accepted the assistance of crews from HILCO Electric Cooperative, Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative and Hamilton County Electric Cooperative.

“The ice has damaged and continues to damage poles, lines and other infrastructure,” said United CEO Cameron Smallwood. “Again and again, linemen have repaired circuits and restored power only to have more tree limbs and ice-coated power lines break under the weight of the ice and damage the repairs. At the moment, we’re facing one of the most challenging restoration efforts in my 20 years at this cooperative, and members should prepare to be without power for several days. With that said, we will not give up until everyone’s electrical service has been restored.”

United officials who have surveyed the damage found many poles in the area have been toppled, leaving miles of spans of line on the ground.  Also, they discovered ice more than two inches thick hanging on power lines and trees. To compound problems, the Stephenville area experienced yet another morning thunderstorm, dumping more water on an already saturated ground and making it more difficult to even impossible for linemen to access areas needing repair.

Smallwood emphasized members to stay away from any downed or low-hanging power lines or electrical infrastructure. Assume it is energized and call United to report downed lines as soon as possible.

Members can monitor outages from United’s outage dashboard at http://outage.united-cs.com:7576/. A hardhat icon indicates a crew is working to restore power. This can be viewed on a web browser on a smart phone or tablet equipped with internet access.

During a loss of electricity, members of United Cooperative Services should have account numbers handy and call their area office and report the outage: Stephenville 254-965-3153.