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17-Sep-2020Electric Cooperatives Send 70 Lineworkers for Sally Repairs

Electric co-ops operative under seven guiding principles including cooperation amongst cooperatives – lending a hand where needed. Electric cooperatives in Virginia and Maryland today dispatched emergency teams of lineworkers to Alabama to help restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally.

Seventy lineworkers from six electric cooperatives are headed to the Gulf Coast, where they will spend several days in the service territory of Baldwin Electric Membership Corp. 

Baldwin EMC had more than 78,000 members in the dark after Sally lashed the coast, destroying miles of power lines and thousands of power poles. 

“We’re looking for a lot of flooding, a lot of water and a lot of wind damage. It’s going to be an obstacle,” Kyle Hadley of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative said as he headed to Alabama. “Our No. 1 goal is to work safely, get the power restored and help people out in a time of need.” 

The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives coordinated the response. Phil Jarvis, manager of safety services for the association, said Alabama cooperatives estimated they would need at least 1,000 lineworkers to rebuild the ravaged electric system. 

The breakdown is as follows: 

BARC Electric Cooperative, Millboro, Va.: 10 crew members 

Choptank Electric Cooperative, Denton, Md.: 22 crew members 

Community Electric Cooperative, Windsor, Va.: 4 crew members 

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, Arrington, Va.: 4 crew members 

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Chase City, Va.: 14 crew members 

Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, Rockingham, Va.: 16 crew members 

Jarvis noted that Alabama is in particular need of right-of-way crews, and BARC Electric responded with six from its in-house, right-of-way crews, as well as four lineworkers. It is the largest mutual aid response from the VMD Association since Hurricane Irma in 2017.

 “The response came together very quickly and we’re committed to help get the lights back on in these hard-hit areas,” Jarvis said.

BARC wishes all cooperative team members a safe journey as they travel to Alabama.