4,790 remain without power in Arkansas

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The latest from the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas:

Little Rock, Ark. - Feb. 17, 2009 - 9 a.m. - As power restoration efforts enter day 22, approximately 4,790 electric cooperative members remain without electric service, down from a peak of more than 210,300 outages.

"The four cooperatives that have remaining outages serve some of the most remote areas with very challenging terrain," said Doug White, vice president of systems services for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. "Obviously, the amount of infrastructure damage at these cooperatives was quite extensive."

Despite muddy conditions, in which tractors actually have to pull digger derrick and bucket trucks through the muck, crews continue to make progress, White said. And, in other extremes, crews are faced with navigating very hilly, remote locations, he said.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas urge cooperative members to use caution both within and outside their homes. Candles, lanterns and temporary heating devices can pose a fire hazard. Home generators should be properly vented to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and they should be connected to home wiring through appropriate protective devices to prevent power from feeding back onto the utility's wires.

The cooperatives with outages include: Clay County Electric Cooperative, Corning; Craighead Electric Cooperative, Jonesboro; Mississippi County Electric Cooperative, Blytheville; and Petit Jean Electric Cooperative, Clinton. (A chart is attached for outages by cooperative)

The public is cautioned to avoid any downed power lines and to report them immediately to local authorities.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides various services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 490,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

To see how your local electric cooperative typically goes about the task of restoring electric services go to: http://www.aecc.com/content.cfm?id=2210