Oklahoma co-op crews return to Louisiana

Posted: October 12, 2020 at 10:04 pm

Just nine days after completing repairs to hurricane-damaged power lines in Louisiana, linemen from Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives are returning to assist Beauregard Electric Cooperative based in DeRidder, Louisiana, which saw another round of devastation from Hurricane Delta.

Oklahoma sent 26 linemen from five electric cooperatives to the storm-stricken service area in southwest Louisiana. Crews left the morning of Monday, October 12. For some of them, it will be the second time they have worked in Louisiana this year.

While damage was not as significant as from Hurricane Laura, all of the cooperative’s members lost power in the hours following the second hurricane. The crews will have to replace between 500 and 1,000 poles this time. By comparison, there were 5,000 broken poles in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

While power has been restored to 11,500 of the cooperative’s members as of Monday, Oct. 12, an additional 32,000 still await repairs. The biggest issue facing the linemen will be flooding.

Five substations are without power, with one reportedly under water. Soggy ground will slow repairs. However, the Louisiana cooperative hopes work will proceed much quicker than it did after Hurricane Laura struck with no crew rotation required.

“It seems this will be a two-week restoration effort,” says Derec Janaway, safety and loss control director at the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. “We appreciate all the linemen lending a hand to help others during this time.”

At this time, cooperatives providing mutual aid assistance are Central Rural Electric Cooperative, Cimarron Electric Cooperative, Cotton Electric Cooperative, East Central Electric Cooperative, and Kay Electric Cooperative.

Previously, 129 lineworkers representing 14 electric cooperatives from Oklahoma assisted Beauregard Electric Cooperative following Hurricane Laura. A total of 500 electric co-op linemen from multiple states will assist with the latest efforts.