2017-09-20 / Front Page

Planters EMC - Irma punches co-op but friends help recover


Crews from West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative help restore power to Planters EMC members after high winds pummeled the co-op's power system. 
(Photo contributed) Crews from West Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative help restore power to Planters EMC members after high winds pummeled the co-op's power system. (Photo contributed) Hurricane Irma is now a memory, but it was a historic storm that left its mark on the Southeast. Electric cooperatives took a direct hit from the storm, and peak outage estimates indicate that there were 760,000 co-op outages in Florida, 535,000 in Georgia, and 100,000 in South Carolina.

Locally, 8,400 members of Planters Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) lost power from the storm; 2,300 were in Jenkins County alone.

"This hurricane was like no other in recent memory," says Randy Hill, a 28-year co-op utility veteran from Planters EMC. "It hit every cooperative in the state from the coast border to the mountain border."

Cooperatives rely on mutual aid agreements and lend assistance to neighboring co-ops during major storms. The size of this storm drew linemen to Georgia from 15 states including Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Back in 2009, Planters EMC sent crews to assist in restoring power during an ice storm in western Kentucky. Two co-ops, Cumberland Valley Electric and West Kentucky Rural Electric, responded and repaid the favor by sending two crews each to work alongside Planters EMC linemen in restoring power to members during Irma.

The power was restored to all Planters EMC members that could receive it by midnight Thursday, September 14. Others were restored later when home repairs were made allowing safe reconnection.

No one likes power outages. They are hard on everyone involved. Planters EMC would like to thank co-op members for their prayers, patience and kind words of support during the restoration process. It helped workers get though this difficult and trying time.

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