Beyond the Storms (with storm damage photos)

From the desk of Dan Singletary

During my career as CEO/General Manager at Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (HOEC), I have witnessed and been faced with numerous challenges that affect not only our cooperative, but our industry in general. This year, however, as a cooperative, we were presented with one of our biggest challenges yet.

We have all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”. Although, this year, per the National Weather Service in Springfield, April brought a 500 – 1,000 year flood that affected much of our service territory. Crews began working immediately to make repairs and safely restore power to our members. We didn’t fight the battle alone. One of the great benefits of being a cooperative is “Cooperation among cooperatives.” What this means is, during large, prolonged outages, we are able to call upon other cooperatives for assistance. We made the call, and several neighboring cooperatives came in to assist our crews. Crews worked long, exasperating hours to make the repairs and safely restore power to our members.

The month of May was no cake walk. Just when we thought we were getting ahead of the flood, which lasted well into the month of May, we were hit with several severe storms over the Memorial Day weekend. These storms brought lightning, high-winds, and more rainfall which ultimately lead to more damage and more power outages. It was Déjà vu all over again. While most were enjoying a three day weekend, personnel at the cooperative skipped their holiday weekend to restore power to our members.

Moving forward, the physical storm has passed, but now, the other storm begins: the financial storm. The total cost of damage statewide was $9 million. HOEC estimated damage valued at $3 million, plus damage caused by the Memorial Day weekend storms. As you can see, HOEC accounted for 1/3 of the total damage cost. The President has approved a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Missouri. Therefore, HOEC is hoping for some assistance from FEMA to soften the financial effects to our members.

Lastly, I want to say, “thank you” to our members for their patience with us during these storms. We know this was a very difficult time, and together we are going to keep moving forward. I also want to commend our employees for their hard work and dedication. We were fortunate that we did not have any injuries during the storms. HOEC looks forward to continuing to be a leader in delivering cost efficient, reliable energy with value-added service to its member-owners.

Dan Singletary, CEO/General Manager, HOEC

Click here to view photos of some of the damage seen by our crews in the aftermath of the flood.

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