White River has been in the eye of several storms since the first of May. We had three weekends in a row where severe storms/tornados hit our system. We have invested a lot of time and energy in the maintenance of our right-of-ways, and with these storms it might seem that the strategy is not successful. However, I would say that it is working.
After speaking with our lineman, several of the outages have been caused by vegetation outside of our right-of-ways. An example is the town of Champion, which is in the northeast part of our service territory. This area has been hit by three significant storms on three separate occasions, and these storms have strewn debris and limbs from all around the area. Brian McCoy, ROW Supervisor, and contractors are currently hard at work in Protem (Arkansas Electric Cooperative contracted) and Bear Creek north of Branson (Southern Construction contracted). Southern will move to the Sparta area after the completion of the Bear Creek substation right-of-ways.
With all of the rain that we have had during this spring, one concern is that the regrowth of the brush will only happen faster. Another issue is with the extreme amount of rain these storms have dumped. We are seeing drastic bank erosion causing several problems. In most cases, flooded creeks aren’t having the excess gravel generated by runoff as it has been in the past. Contracts for gravel removal are limited by governmental agencies, and because the existing creek beds are filling with gravel, the high water is pushing out of its normal flow areas and rising faster than ever before. As a result, poles that have been standing for years, are now being washed away. The Cooperative is looking into mitigation monies offered from the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency to help defer some of the capital costs for necessary repairs.
The Current Times provides an excellent means for communication between the cooperative and its members on all topics ranging from green energy such as solar power, to energy saving tips and incentives, to the basic business and financial aspects of the co-op.