Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative, along with other cooperatives within the state of Missouri, have been called upon to assist cooperatives in southern Mississippi as a result of the widespread damage done by Hurricane Ivan.
A request was made to the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives to help cooperatives in Mississippi in restoring power. As a result of this, eight linemen and four trucks from Howell-Oregon left Sept. 17, along with over 100 linemen from other cooperatives in Missouri, for the areas in Mississippi damaged the most.
Lineman from Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative were dispatched Sept. 20 to Baldwin Electric Cooperative in southern Alabama. The crews worked Sept. 17-19 for Singing River Electric Power Association near Lucedale, Miss.
Singing River Electric Power Association is a distribution cooperative serving over 63,000 customers in Jackson, George, Greene, Perry, Wayne, Stone and Harrison counties in Mississippi as well as Mobile and Washington counties in Alabama. The cooperative had 48,000 of its 63,000 customers without power on the morning of Sept. 16. "Our crews continue to work from daybreak until late evening and have made great progress over the pass couple of days," said General Manager and CEO Lee Hedegaard. "We are grateful for the patience and thankfulness of our customers and are appreciative to the 30 electric cooperatives and contract companies from Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas who loaned employees to speed our progress."
"Our thoughts will continue to be with those harder hit by Hurricane Ivan in Alabama and Florida," he said.
Howell-Oregon employees did not hesitate to volunteer as they remember the assistance they received in January 1999 from neighboring cooperatives when Howell-Oregon's system was severely damaged and over 80 percent of its members were left without power because of a major ice storm. These men will be in Mississippi for seven to 14 days.
Howell-Oregon's General Manager Dan Singletary said, "At this time our thoughts and prayers are with these men and their families while they are away, as well as those that have been effected by this natural disaster." He went on to say that construction of new services and the day-to-day operations of Howell-Oregon should continue with little delays.