Consolidated Electric Cooperative employees are firm believers in the cooperative principle, “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.” CEC sent four volunteer linemen and three trucks to Baton …
Consolidated Electric Cooperative employees are firm believers in the cooperative principle, “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.” CEC sent four volunteer linemen and three trucks to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to assist in restoration efforts following devastating damage and power outages caused by Hurricane Ida.
CEC linemen joined 169 other Missouri linemen and service workers in answering the call for assistance from DEMCO Electric Cooperative just east of Baton Rouge.
DEMCO is the largest electric cooperative in Louisiana, serving more than 112,000 members across a nearly 9,000-mile system. On Monday morning, Aug. 30, more than 68 percent of DEMCO’s members were without electricity.
The Missouri crews started Wednesday from a staging area in Batesville, Mississippi. The local electric cooperative in Batesville, Tallahatchie Valley Electric, greatly assisted Missouri’s cooperatives, helping with truck repairs and tire changes, ensuring the lineworkers could travel safely to Baton Rouge.
Lineworkers arrived at DEMCO Wednesday afternoon and were given safety and operational orientations. Lineworkers from a handful of Missouri cooperatives were given assignments to head into the field Wednesday to start restoring power to more than 80,000 members who were without.
The remainder of the crews started restoring power before sunrise on Thursday morning.
Their efforts are made more treacherous due to the wet, swampy terrain around Baton Rouge coupled with the swath of damage Ida left behind and triple-digit heat indices.
Missouri’s electric cooperatives have a long history of lending a helping hand to its cooperative peers in trying times. Missouri crews first helped with hurricane relief efforts in 2004 when the Gulf Coast was hit by Hurricane Ivan and have been doing so since. Their most recent deployments were in 2020 when crews traveled to Louisiana twice for hurricanes Delta and Zeta.
The favor has been returned, as Missouri co-ops received assistance restoring power following devastating ice storms in 2007 and 2009.
Missouri’s restoration efforts are being spearheaded by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. The Jefferson City-based association represents all 47 of Missouri’s electric cooperatives.