Wednesday, June 21, 9pm
As many East Texans endured day 6 of not only power outages from the Friday storms, but also faced a heat index well over 105 degrees, the roads across East Texas were alive with co-op and electric company trucks, bucket trucks, and trailers loaded with power line poles.
As repairs started Friday with distribution lines, tucked away deep into the woods, pastures, and other remote locations, trucks were rarely seen, except when traveling to and from job sights. Five long, labor-filled days later, the restoration of lines from transmission to neighborhood streets and homes narrowed much closer. For most areas, those trucks are now coming closer and closer to our neighborhoods and homes.
Sixty dedicated URECC linemen, very familiar with the damage storms leave in their wake of broken trees and tangled power lines, where almost overwhelmed as they struck out into their assigned regions of the URECC service territory in the early hours of the morning. The damage was everywhere…and they would be the ones to make it like new again. 47,000 meters stood without power; 97% of the cooperatives entire service.
Through the weekend contractors from other cooperatives across Texas and Louisiana joined the 60 URECC linemen to begin perhaps one of the biggest challenges they had faced. As the weekend has grown into midweek those same 60 are now joined by over 170 contractors working at their sides. The number of outages have started decreasing faster. This morning approximately 11,000 members anxiously waited without power, hoping this would be the day the lights came back on. At the time of this release, that number is now at 4,026. As of 7pm this evening the breakdown of those outages by county were:
Many more communities will have power restored tomorrow, but we want everyone to be aware that some areas still have significant damage. To quote some who have seen them, they are “just a mess”. One of those areas is just outside of Hallsville. Another is near Jefferson, and there are others throughout the service area. The estimate for finishing the final restorations is still Friday, but keep in mind that is an estimate. As we have started into other areas, we have found that many more repairs lay in store than initially assessed, taking much more time to complete.
***The one thing we want everyone to be aware of is downed power lines. Familiarity can be deadly at this state of restoration. We have seen lines laying in our yards and driveways for almost a week now. As service lines are being powered up, those lines you may be used to stepping over may become charged. Contact can hurt or even kill you. ASSUME ALL DOWNED POWER LINES ARE LIVE. Anything touching a power line can conduct electricity also and be just as dangerous.
Electricity can also travel up to 15 feet through the ground. IF YOU SEE A DOWNED POWER LINE REMAIN A MINIMUM OF 15 FEET AWAY!
Please stay safe as we near the end of this devastating disaster power outage.
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