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Kentucky co-op linemen return home after Winter Storm Riley aid

Crews from 13 Kentucky electric cooperatives are returning home from Virginia after an eight-day mission to help restore power after Winter Storm Riley.

A total of 81 Kentucky linemen deployed to four electric cooperatives in Virginia, joining hundreds of crews from six other states. A relentless 36-hour windstorm swept through northern Virginia last week with damaging winds, heavy, wet snow, and destructive coastal flooding, knocking out power to 400,000 people statewide.

“We appreciate the mutual aid we’ve received from our sister co-ops in Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia,” stated Casey Hollins, a spokesperson for Rappahannock EC, “The damage throughout our service territory was extensive. Without the assistance we have received our restoration efforts would have extended far beyond what they are. We know there will come a day when another co-op will need our help, and we will be ready to answer the call.”

Through careful coordination with co-op officials in the region, including the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, the linemen from Kentucky’s electric cooperatives were assigned to individual Virginia co-ops who requested their assistance.

“The damage and conditions were similar to what Kentucky experienced with Hurricane Ike in 2008,” said Clarence Greene, KAEC Safety and Loss Prevention Director. Greene said the Kentucky linemen faced high winds and cold weather in Virginia, coupled with unfamiliarity with the service territory.

Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives has been built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.

“These linemen left their homes and families to help fellow co-ops in their time of need,” said KAEC President and CEO Chris Perry. “We welcome them home with pride and appreciation for their sacrifice and commitment to the cooperative spirit.”

Each Kentucky co-op ensures it has crews available for all local needs before committing resources to mutual aid requests.

The Kentucky Co-ops that responded to Winter Storm Riley are below.

• Warren RECC
• InterCounty Energy
• Nolin RECC
• Salt River Electric
• South Kentucky RECC
• Jackson Energy
• Blue Grass Energy
• Owen Electric
• Licking Valley RECC
• Clark Energy
• Fleming Mason Energy
• Big Sandy RECC
• Shelby Energy

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