(August 21, 2021 @ 5 p.m.) — Devastating. Hickman, Houston and Humphreys counties in the Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative service area are facing loss and damage. Flash flooding has left roads impassable, people unreachable and damaged electric and broadband equipment behind.
Approximately 10,000 are without power, almost a third of MLEC’s total service area. This number could change as electric equipment is repaired and begins responding to software signals that records the outages. Repairs will take several days, and the cooperative encourages those without power to follow their personal emergency plan and move to another location. MLConnect broadband repairs will also take several days.
The Humphreys County office flooded and could be a total loss, so plans are being enacted for a mobile office. Trucks and equipment on site are damaged; therefore, replacements from other locations will have to brought in when roads are accessible. Most employees are unable to reach the office due to roads, but those that can are reporting.
Crews in Hickman and Houston counties are working on locations they can reach and waiting for waters to go down in others. As with Humphreys, the full extent of the damage will not be known until we can get in to survey the damage, possibly tomorrow.
Lewis and Perry counties had minor issues, and these employees are responding in other counties. Additionally, contract crews and neighboring utilities will reach us and provide support tomorrow.
Hospitals and other critical infrastructure facilities will be our first priority in restoration efforts. Next, MLEC will focus on main distribution lines to get the greatest number of people on in the quickest amount of time. Then, we work out correcting problems as we go. After larger groups of members are restored, crews will fix individual service lines to homes.
“The safety and well-being of our communities, employees and rescue efforts are top priorities right now,” said MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan. “Our employees are dedicated to serve and leaving their personal damages at home and taking alternate routes in to the office where they can. These are devastating conditions to work in, but our employees and their heart for service are ramping up for the long days ahead as our hometowns begin to heal.”
Anticipated Update by Approximately 9 p.m. 8/21/21