Murfreesboro, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) answered the call for help from Louisiana electric utilities early today by sending four line crews and equipment to rural Louisiana after Hurricane Laura knocked out power to over one million people when it made landfall on August 29.
Due to the massive scale of the damage and the length of time needed to make repairs, crews have been scheduled in waves to replace those earlier arriving crews.
A total of 21 MTE crew members – 20 linemen and 1 mobile mechanic – were dispatched to help DeRidder Louisiana-based Beauregard Electric Membership Corporation restore power in its west Louisiana service territory. The crews were pulled from their existing rotations from local Middle Tennessee Electric offices.
Rebuilding the electric transmission and distribution infrastructure in parts of Louisiana could take a month, industry experts say. The storm caused massive damage to transmission structures, including various classes of wooden poles and steel towers, raising concerns about the availability of replacement parts to meet demand. The hardest-hit electric co-ops have received help from hundreds of co-op crews from 13 states who began arriving in the hours before the storm made landfall.
“As a cooperative, Middle Tennessee Electric abides by the Seven Cooperative Principles; one of which calls for Cooperation between Cooperatives,” said MTE President and CEO Chris Jones. “This means that cooperatives help each other, particularly when faced with serious storm damage and destruction. MTE was the beneficiary of this type of help when we faced the tornado damage in Wilson county in March, and we’re always ready to aid another cooperative in its time of need.”
Beauregard Electric Membership Corporation serves mainly rural parts of seven parishes with 22 substations and 41,000 meters; as many as 39,000 of which were without power after Hurricane Laura made landfall. Due to the rural nature of the service territory and the low population density – as few as 9 meters per mile of power line, crews must build several miles of power line to restore service to only a few accounts.
The MTE crews are scheduled to work in Louisiana for 7-10 days before being relieved by the next wave of visiting line crews. The work will continue in the area until all power is restored, an estimated 4 weeks from now.
About Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation (MTE)
Founded in 1936, Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation is the largest electric co-op in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region and the second largest in the United States, serving more than 600,000 Tennesseans via 308,000+ accounts covering nearly 2,200 square miles in 11 Middle Tennessee counties, primarily Rutherford, Cannon, Williamson and Wilson. Municipalities served include Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Smyrna, Lavergne, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. MTE employs 510 people in 7 local offices and its Murfreesboro corporate headquarters.