By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — Power has been restored to nearly all of Tri-County Electric Cooperative’s customers.
“Everyone was on last (Monday) night,” said General Manager Marcia Scott. “I’m not saying we didn’t have scattered outages, because you always do after the winter weather we’ve had.”
Scott said when administrators left Monday, power had been restored in the three counties — Jefferson, Marion and Washington — served by the cooperative.
“We had switched some lines Monday to eliminate blinking. We had several people off during that time while we were switching them back,” she added.
Scott said the cost of labor and materials for this latest winter storm is unknown, although it doesn’t compare to a larger catastrophic event, such as a tornado.
“We did not have to bring extra crews in to help with this storm, so it’s not what we would describe as a major storm cost,” Scott said.
Scott said all of the Tri-County crews were out since noon Sunday, numbering 22 employees.
“Our employees worked very hard, long hours in adverse conditions. We are very appreciative of their hard work and dedication,” she said. Scott also complimented farmers — particularly in the Marion County area — who helped pull trucks out of snow drifts multiple times during the restoration effort.
“We had members who had the proper equipment to pull our trucks out numerous times. They were a big help,” Scott said.
At the height of the storm, around 10 a.m. Sunday, approximately 1,375 customers were without power throughout South-
ern Illinois, according to Marcelene Love of Ameren Illinois.
“All of our customers, except for a few in the Metro East area, were back on as of 2 a.m. Monday,” Love said. The isolated outages were expected to be restored by Tuesday evening.
The hardest hit area of outages were in Hoyleton, Tamaroa, Sandoval and Anna, she reported, noting about 380 customers were without power in Sandoval and another 500 in Tamaroa.
“We had very brief and small outages on Monday due to the continued weather,” Love said, adding, “We’re starting to return to normal operations.”
At its peak, Ameren Illinois field crews and support staff restored service to more than 45,500 customers. Most of the outages were the result of high winds, which can cause power lines to cross and substation equipment to fail. The Ameren Illinois Emergency Operations Center remains activated to coordinate storm response.
Outage information is available at IllinoisOutage.com. Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois. The service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles.