DEMCO issues safety alert and update on restoration

State News

(WVLA) – (7/16/19) DEMCO is issuing a safety alert and update on restoration following tropical storm Barry.

In the aftermath of Barry, DEMCO leaders said do not clean up around downed power lines or fallen trees that could have power lines tangled in them. Any dangling lines or lines on the ground can be deadly. Please call 3-1-1 to report downed or damaged power lines.

DEMCO reports that crews continue to work around the clock to restore power to members. Only a few outages remain in West Feliciana Parish near Angola where high waters and final remnants of Barry push restoration efforts back, until it is safe for crews to work.

DEMCO estimates that 6,000 members were without power at the height of tropical storm Barry on Saturday, July 13. Over 250 crew members were deployed for restoration, including 125 DEMCO employees, 44 mutual-aid cooperative employees, 62 contractors, and 21 right of way contractors.

Crews were mobilized on Friday with the assistance of the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives (ALEC) through the mutual-aid agreement that assures crews and equipment assistance to America’s 900 electric co-ops whenever resources are needed to respond and recover from major outages, usually stormrelated.

“Cooperation among cooperatives is one of the seven guiding principles of electric cooperatives,” said Randy Pierce, CEO & General Manager of DEMCO. “Contractors and out of state crews had been contacted and were on standby even before the hurricane reached us. It took only one phone call to get the crews moving in our direction,” Pierce stated.

Pierce added that this staffing-up effort is necessary to restore power in as short a time as possible. “We mobilize the crews early and keep them working as long as necessary because we know how much DEMCO’s 110,000 members depend on electric power.”

“DEMCO followed standard utility practice in repairing and energizing its lines. Feeder and primary lines were repaired first, then secondary and service lines next,” reported Ryan Vandersypen, Vice President of Engineering and Operations. “This method restores power to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.” Foreign crews were released from DEMCO late yesterday afternoon and moved on to assist other co-ops in Louisiana with restoration to their members, reported Vandersypen.

Primary impacts were as a result of winds of up to 65 m.p.h. that blew electric poles and structures to the ground and knocked trees onto power lines, shutting off power to many of DEMCO’s consumers.

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