Since 6 a.m. Saturday, United Cooperative Services, along with more than a hundred operations and tree-trimming personnel from other electric cooperatives and contractors, have restored electric service to more than 3,000 members in what is the worst storm-related event outage in the electric cooperative’s history.
Demonstrating Cooperative Principle No. 6—Cooperation Among Cooperatives—11 fellow electric cooperatives sent an elite contingent of linemen to help rebuild and repair the United infrastructure crippled by the ice storm on Feb. 21.
“On behalf of our membership and cooperative, we can’t thank our co-op friends enough for their willingness to help and the commitment their linemen have demonstrated throughout this event,” said United CEO Cameron Smallwood. “If not for Bandera Electric Cooperative, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, CoServ Electric, Hamilton Electric Cooperative, HILCO Electric Cooperative, Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative, Jasper-Newton Electric Cooperative, Lyntegar Electric Cooperative, San Bernard Electric Cooperative, South Plains Electric Cooperative, Tri-County Electric Cooperative (Okla.), this restoration effort would be weeks-long rather than days long.”
The process of restoration has been extremely systematic and organized, which is the strategy that’s been executed from the beginning of the ice storm. The crews started at each substation. They start work from the beginning of each substation feeder line and move outward because it’s the safest and most efficient way. These are the primary “arteries” that carry the electricity to each electric “tap” toward member homes/meters. Once the crews restore these primary lines, the outage management system notes that area as restored.
“If you see on our Outage Viewer on our website at www.united-cs.com that your area is restored, but you still don’t have power, please text the outage in, which automatically re-enters your specific outage into our Outage Management System and verifies that you have an outage,” Smallwood said. “If you can’t text, call one of our offices,” he added. “To text your outage, text the word ‘OUT’ to 85700.”
The remaining outages are still mostly scattered throughout Erath County. Crews will continue to work around the clock, making repairs or replacing destroyed equipment. The progress was steady in spite of the conditions, but there is a significant amount of power lines on the ground that need to be either replaced or restrung.
Smallwood continues to emphasize members to stay away from any downed power lines or electrical infrastructure. Assume it is energized and call United to report downed lines as soon as possible.