Local power companies brace for more ice this winter

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Local power companies are working now to prevent any loss of power this winter. Work crews are clearing right-of-ways and checking transmission lines to make sure we're not left in the dark.

The big ice storm of 2009, still fresh in our minds, wreaked havoc on Northern Arkansas. Twenty-five thousand customers were without power for over two weeks. Estimated total damage was higher than 40 million dollars.

Monty Williams of Craighead Electric says that was the worst-case scenario but the crews worked diligently.

"They were putting in about eighteen hours a day. A lot of the guys would work for about week solid like that, every day. Then they'd bring in some more for about a week, and they'd just rotate out."

Williams says they had much to learn from the ice storm of 2009. If wintry weather were to strike again, crews will work around the clock as always to restore power.

The co-op has gained more contacts across the state and has a stockpile of cables, poles, breakers, and transformers waiting to be used.

But this winter is forecast to be much drier and warmer with a few cold spells, thanks to a persistent, yet weak La Nina.

Forecasters believe more ice than snow will fall on Region 8 again this winter season.

Monty adds that they've been doing preventative measures all summer long.

"Everyday there's a crew out trimming trees because they never stop growing, hardly. We've got to keep them trimmed back. And keeping up, make sure all our lines and stuff are properly maintained."

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