3 years later: What electric companies have learned since the ice storm

(Source: bowlescom via The Loop)
(Source: bowlescom via The Loop)
(source: brettwheat via The Loop)
(source: brettwheat via The Loop)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - This winter's mild weather is a far cry from the extreme turn Mother Nature took only three years ago.

Hisses, pops, and cracks rang out as each neighborhood quickly plunged into darkness.

Monty Williams of Craighead Electric can still remember the disaster and the steps his company took leading up to the ice storm. He feels that the storm has made them stronger.

And there's always lessons to be learned.

"We know our vendors a lot better now and we know who to contact to get supplies and help in here if we need it."

"I can remember getting up, driving to work that morning. Tree limbs were falling everywhere, the power was out. It was a very scary morning, I guess you could say. Because you didn't know what to expect or what was going to happen."

In one night, up to two inches of ice accumulated on power cables, transformers, tree branches, and highways.

Out of 28,000 customers, at least 25,000 were without power.

Some went without electricity for 25 days.

"Just the shear weight of the ice on the lines just broke the poles. Plus, we had a little bit of wind come through that night."

It cost Craighead Electric 43 million dollars and left thousands without electricity for weeks.

Co-ops came from as far away as Texas, Colorado, Florida and the Carolinas to get electricity restored to Region 8.

"We may have to build two miles of power lines to turn two people on. So we've got a lot more area to cover."

Monte adds that the right-of-way is in excellent shape since the ice storm, so hopefully there will be fewer outages with the next big one.

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