Rural Missouri - July 2019 - 4
| C O O P E R AT I O N
photos by Zach Smith
Above: Gov. Mike Parson and his wife,Teresa, turned out to personally thank linemen from Three Rivers Electric Cooperative for their hard work following a tornado that struck Cole and Miller
counties. Below: Employees of Boone Electric Cooperative dropped whatever they were doing to ﬁll sandbags as ﬂood waters threatened Hartsburg and Rocheport.
Relentless weather keeps linemen battling outages
pring storms are nothing new to Missouri's
electric cooperatives, but the constant barrage of stormy weather this year kept cooperatives around the state reeling. From April
through June, linemen repaired damage on an
almost daily basis, only to see their work undone by
yet another storm.
Meanwhile, those cooperatives serving near rivers had to pull meters ahead of the worst ﬂooding
since the Great Flood of 1993.
The storms saw many cooperatives repair damage to their own system, then send crews to assist
neighboring cooperatives. That was the case for
Webster Electric in Marshﬁeld. On May 1, tornadoes
and straight line winds caused destruction across
more than 15 miles of the co-op's service area.
The cooperative's own linemen worked 30 hours
before safety concerns called for a rest. But the
work continued thanks to fresh crews from Co-Mo
Electric Cooperative, Tipton.
Southwest Electric Cooperative had its own
issues. But once it had wrapped up repairs, crews
were sent east to assist Webster Electric, which
reported the damage to its system from that storm:
40 broken poles, 15,000 feet of wire that had to be
replaced and 3,000 hours worked.
A few weeks later, Webster Electric was on the
giving end, sending its pole setting skid steer loader
to neighboring Se-Ma-No Electric Cooperative in
Mansﬁeld. The tracked machine can go into muddy
terrain where trucks would bog down, speeding up
the restoration for Se-Ma-No members. Barry Electric also helped.
White River Valley Electric in Branson was anoth-
"Devoted to the rural way of life"
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RURAL MISSOURI | JULY 2019
er system hit by wave after wave of storms. On April
29, crews worked through the night to repair damage affecting 2,200 members. Work was nearly complete when another storm struck. On May 1, a band
of tornadoes swept across all ﬁve counties it serves
with winds as high as 107 mph snapping poles or
yanking them out of the ground.
Those storms continued into Howell-Oregon
Electric to the east. The cooperative's linemen had
to ﬁnd alternate ways to reach outages as ﬂash
ﬂoods swept through the area. One line in Shannon
County had to be rebuilt across a swollen river.
"God bless our linemen," wrote one HowellOregon member, recognizing the hard work crews
faced. The Facebook post echoed messages sent by
thousands of those affected by the storms, more
concerned with the safety of crews than their own
lack of power.
May 20 saw Southwest Electric in need of assistance, which came from Co-Mo Electric, White River
Valley and Webster Electric cooperatives.
Barton County Electric, Lamar, and Three Rivers
Electric, Linn, also faced signiﬁcant damage from
tornadoes on May 22. With help from Osage Valley Electric, Barton County quickly restored power.
Damage was more extensive for Three Rivers, where
crews worked four days to repair damage from
Eldon to the state capital.
The tornado narrowly missed Central Electric
Power Cooperative, whose crews worked side by
side with Three Rivers. Also coming to their aid was
Macon Electric and Crawford Electric, whose linemen helped replace more than 104 broken poles.
Boone Electric saw its share of storms, but helped
prevent further disaster by sending 30 employees
to sandbag in Hartsburg and Rocheport. "Commitment to community is one of the seven Cooperative
Principles that Boone Electric follows," says Boone
Electric Manager Todd Culley. "It doesn't get any
closer to this principle when you see one of your
small towns struggling. I'm proud of our crews for
helping out as the water levels continued to rise."
At United Electric, Maryville, linemen worked 82
outages over seven days at one point. Their efforts
included pulling meters ahead of ﬂooding in 14
locations around Amazonia.
Despite the extra workload, linemen seemed to
take it all in stride, doing whatever it took to restore
power for their neighbors.
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Rural Missouri - July 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2019
Rural Missouri - July 2019 - Cover1
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Rural Missouri - July 2019 - Contents
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