Craighead Electric eludes major winter storm damage - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Craighead Electric eludes major winter storm damage

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - 

It's been a tense 48 hours for dispatchers at the Craighead Electric Cooperative.

They assigned crews across 8 counties, serving 28 thousand people.

Monty Williams says there were plenty of outages, but this event pales in comparison to the ice storm of 2009.

"I think we were very lucky. It could've been a whole lot worse. In 2009, we had about 25,000 folks off. So, we really dodged a bullet."

The storm may be history, but outage reports were pouring today in from Lawrence County due to melting ice...breaking away from power lines.

"That ice, as it thaws and falls off of the lines, those lines will start galloping, just start flopping and they can hit each other. Once they do that, sometimes it'll burn a line and it'll come down."

Maintaining forty-seven hundred miles of power lines is not an easy job.

It would take a span of 5 to 7 years for a right-of-way crew to return to a given spot.

That's why electric companies must stay on their toes even in fair weather.

"We've gotten really aggressive with our right-of-way program. If you can control the growth of the trees and keep them trimmed back in a major storm like this. That helps prevent any major storm damage."

Williams also cites newer utility poles and equipment for the good fortune.

"We replaced over 8,000 poles during the '09 ice storm, and last night we replaced about 4."

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