Craighead Electric: Damage Estimates not Exaggerated

JONESBORO (KAIT) - Craighead Electric official Brian Duncan compared this week's to earlier ice storms in '02 and 2000.

"We had about 1500 poles down in the last '02 storm, but after our site surveys from Wednesday, we know we have at least 2500 poles down, and it may approach 3000", related Duncan early Thursday morning.

Transmissions lines to the substations from regional providers must be established first, and then distribution lines to customers.

"An area near Marmaduke we surveyed had over 80 consecutive poles down", explained Duncan.  This represents about 5 miles of that one transmission line.

Duncan further expressed his appreciation for everyone's patience during this challenging time, and that beginning with each day going forward, more and more customer's power will be restored.

Thursday morning press release from Craighead Electric Co-op:

Craighead Electric Cooperative Corporation of Jonesboro has begun its first full day of power restoration efforts to more than 15,000 members. More than 150 line workers from Louisiana and Mississippi, plus the cooperative's crews face a daunting task of replacing approximately 3,000 poles and basically rebuilding the electric distribution infrastructure.

According to Brian Duncan, president/CEO of Craighead Electric, the crews have been dispatched to Lawrence, Greene and Craighead counties.

"During this type of restoration, crews starting at substations and clearing the main three-phase line first," Duncan said. "We need consumers to understand that although it appears that they are driving past single phase lines that have damage, they will return later to repair them once the main distribution lines are reenergized."

In some instances, transmission lines must be reconstructed before power can be restored. This is the current situation in Greene and Lawrence counties, Duncan said.

Many of the crews from out of state are basically living at Craighead Electric's Jonesboro office. The cooperative provided sleeping quarters for 150 men last night and fed about 300 workers at the offices this morning.

"We are appreciative of the men who have volunteered to help us during this emergency situation," Duncan said. "We also appreciate the patience and understanding of our members. We know the power is out and we are working diligently and safely to reestablish service to everyone."

As the restoration work continues additional crews will convene to provide further assistance in rebuilding the distribution system.

Consumers are advised to avoid downed power lines and trees touching power lines stay away as the lines may still be energized. Consumers are asked to call the Craighead Electric outage number at 1-888-771-7772 to report any downed power lines or trees on power lines. 

To report your outage, please call 1-888-771-7772.

Craighead Electric Cooperative serves approximately 28,000 members in eight counties in Northeast Arkansas.  Incorporated in 1937, the cooperative operates office in Jonesboro, Walnut Ridge and Paragould. The locally owned and managed organization has 108 employees

For additional information, contact:

Monty Williams, Craighead Electric Cooperatives, 870-932-8301 or