Final update: Craighead Electric Completes efforts

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Craighead Electric reports all customers restored in this final update:

After 25 days of work, Craighead Electric Cooperative has restored power to all members that were left without electric services by the Jan. 27th ice storm.

According to Brian Duncan, president/CEO of Craighead Electric, at the peak of the storm the cooperative had approximately 25,000 of its 28,000 members in the dark. Current estimates put the number of damaged poles at 8,000.

"The 2009 ice storm is one of the worst natural disasters that Craighead Electric has ever experienced," Duncan said. "Due to the patience of our members, along with the work ethic of our line workers and support personnel we were able to rebuild a large portion of our electric distribution network and restore service to our members."

Duncan said Craighead Electric workers and approximately 900 crew members from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri and North Carolina assisted in accomplishing the restoration.

Although power has been restored to members, Craighead Electric crews will now reestablish service to grain bins, irrigation wells, hunting lodges and other non-residential meters.

"We will work on clean up for quite a few months," Duncan said. "Poles, wire and other materials will be gathered and disposed of in a timely manner."

He asked that the public leave damaged material, including broken poles, as is.  The material left on these poles can be reused and the cooperative will eventually collect these items.

"The board of directors has expressed great pride in the work of Craighead Electric's 108 employees," Duncan said. "We will continue to work to meet the needs of our members. The graciousness shown by many members was very much appreciated during this long restoration process."

In the event of an outage, members should contact the cooperative through its outage reporting hotline at 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.