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Spring snow storm causes problems for Clarke Electric members

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 3:12 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 3:14 p.m. CST

An unexpected spring snow storm caused multiple outages throughout Clarke Electric’s eight county service territory.

Early on Friday, May 3, outage calls started flooding Clarke Electric’s call center. At 7:30 a.m. office personnel relieved the call-dispatching center and quickly realized the magnitude of the areas affected.

The weight of the heavy, wet snow caused electric poles, cross arms and wires to snap. County roads were difficult to get around on because of the slush and mud, delaying efforts to reach members. At the height of the storm, Clarke Electric had more than 2,400 members affected and approximately 30 poles broken.

A quick assessment showed all substation areas were reporting outages; however, a concentrated area on the east side of the system showed the greatest number of members without power.

“Friday we were taking one step forward and two steps backwards,” said Don Lange, operations and engineering manager. “As quickly as our crews were getting lines put back up, a few miles away the weight of the snow would cause some of those same lines to break in a different area. Trees also weighted down with snow would fall into power lines knocking out the power.”

Clarke Electric’s first priority remains to get all its members on as quickly and safely as possible.

If you have damage to the lines coming from the pole to your house we encourage you to call an electrician to make the necessary repairs. If you see lines hanging or broken poles call 1-800-362-2154 to report the damage. Crews will continue to make repairs to the system over the next several weeks and months.

Clarke Electric would like to thank its members for their patience as they worked to restore power. In some cases, members assisted our crews when they were stuck on county roads. Clarke Electric appreciates the extra effort its members provided.

Clarke Electric remains committed to its members and strive to give them a reliable and safe service.

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