By Lana Bellamy
Jan. 28, 2014 —
After Tuesday night’s ice storm knocked out power to at least 7,000 Grayson Rural Electric customers, 5,000 were still without electricity by Wednesday evening, RECC President Carol Fraley said.
Steady rainfall earlier in the week caused the ground to moisten, lending little support for many power poles throughout Carter County that buckled under the weight of the ice and fallen trees, she explained.
“A lot of these issues are happening with poles that are right off the right-away where we don’t normally have to trim trees,” Fraley said. “Where the ground is so soft and their roots aren’t very deep, they just fell right on the lines.”
Grayson RECC services rural areas in Rowan, Elliott, Carter, Greenup, Lawrence and Lewis counties and serves approximately 14,000 customers.
Fraley estimated around 1,500 without power in Elliott County and even more in Rowan areas of Clearfield, East Clack Mountain, Elliottville and CCC Trail.
Kim Bush, manager of marketing and member services, said Greenup and Lewis counties were faring well after the storm, but Rowan and Carter appeared to be the worst hit areas.
Bush said crews were out all night repairing lines, many workers physically hiking up hills and walking the roads searching for trouble spots.
“It’s hard to find where the broken lines are between all the trees and especially in the dark,” she said. “Sometimes the guys have to walk up and down the roads for a long time before they find it.”
Weather conditions only slightly improved to a slushy mix of rain and snow Wednesday, making work dangerous, but nonetheless necessary.
Six crews from Pike Electric and Kendall Electric, Inc., in Indiana and Ohio, were called in for extra help. Several arrived throughout the day Wednesday and immediately began repairs throughout the Grayson area.
Fraley said the company hopes to return electricity to most customers by today, but Herbie Steagall, first class lineman for RECC, said power in particularly problematic areas around the airport road and Rattlesnake Ridge could be waiting three-to-five more days for full restoration.
Olive Hill experienced brief power outages Tuesday night, but Mayor Kenny Fankel said crews began work at 11:30 p.m. and had most repairs finished by the morning.
He said crews replaced three downed power poles, with power only being out one or two hours at a time.
“Overall we’re extremely lucky compared to the rest of Carter County,” Fankel said.
The next biggest problem for Olive Hill will be flooding, Fankel said, as the creeks are rising quickly due to run-off and steady precipitation.
“We’ve had a little flooding, but most of it has come down. We’re keeping an eye on it,” he said.
To report power outage to the Grayson Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation, call (800) 562-3532.
Grayson RECC does not accept outage reports via Facebook or Twitter.
Lana Bellamy can be reached at email@example.com or 326-2653.