Howell Oregon Electric repairs damage caused by the ice storm
Many communities in the area breathed a sigh of relief, after a Thursday, Feb. 21 ice storm proved not to be as severe as feared. But Oregon County was hard hit by the storm.
According to Myles Smith, Manager of Member Services with Howell Oregon Electric Cooperative, "The areas where damage was most prevalent were in Oregon and southern Shannon Counties. At the height of the outage HOEC officials reported over 3,800 members of the cooperative without power."
The ice storm, which began late Thursday morning and continued into late afternoon, kept electric crews busy restoring power until about 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22.
Roger Huddleston, lead lineman of the Oregon County crew, said, "The most affected areas in Oregon County were the Wilderness area, east Alton and down around the Billmore and Deckard Y communities." Damage was also prominent in the Thayer and Koshkonong areas.
"We had poles broken, lines down, trees across the lines and service wires down to houses," Huddleston said of the challenges crews faced.
"Getting electric turned back on was a team effort by the Oregon County crew with help from West Plains crews and a few linemen from Pike Electric Energy Solutions," Huddleston said. The linemen worked for approximately 40 hours straight to ensure that each customer's electricity was turned back on as quickly as possible.
HOEC replaced seven electric poles damaged by the ice storm.
"Safety is a number one priority of the cooperative for all crewmen working to restore power, as well as the safety and well-being of our members," Smith said. "As always, if you ever witness a downed power line stay away from it and report it the cooperative immediately."