The Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC was one of eight Indiana electric cooperatives to send crews and equipment to assist with the power restoration effort in Virginia after ice storms moved through the state in late February.
Indiana Electric Cooperatives (IEC) sent a total of 26 lineworkers to work alongside Southside Electric Cooperative in Crewe, Virginia, to assist in the power recovery effort after nearly half of the electric distribution cooperative’s consumers were left without electricity. In addition to UDWI, crews responded from: Clark County REMC (Sellersburg), Harrison REMC (Corydon), Henry County REMC (New Castle), JCREMC (Franklin), Steuben County REMC (Angola), Tipmont REMC (Linden), Whitewater Valley REMC (Liberty).
“We are grateful to be in a position that allows us to lend our linemen to a cooperative in need. It is important to have people to rely on during a crisis, and this is a great example of how cooperatives can come together in a time of need,” said UDWI CEO Doug Childs. “Thank you to our linemen who volunteered to make this journey and help out the cooperative in need. We are proud to have you represent our team.”
The Indiana Electric Cooperative Mutual Aid Program provides cooperative assistance in service restoration from storms or other events that result in significant power outages.
Evan Fuller (Apprentice Lineman), Ross Egenolf (Journeyman Lineman), Jordan Clark (Journeyman Lineman), and Michael Nail (Journeyman Lineman) represented UDWI by helping restore power to the more than 20,000 Southside Electric Cooperative members who were experiencing an outage. Winter storm Tabitha was quoted as the worst storm this region has seen in over 36 years, producing a mixture of snow and ice that caused a number of dangerous conditions including frozen lines, fallen trees and road hazards.
“Southside Electric Cooperative’s system is very similar to UDWI’s, and it was unreal to see the amount of damage that occurred. It was like nothing I had seen before,” said Egenolf. “I know our team worked hard and was able to make an impact on the restoration efforts. Moments like this are why we volunteer.”
Regardless of the circumstance, it is important to remember safety around downed power lines. Always assume a downed power line is still energized. If you see a downed line, stay away and contact your electric utility. Additionally, stay away from limbs or trees in contact with downed lines because they can be conductors of electricity.