About 140 linemen from Missouri’s Rural Electric Cooperatives are in Louisiana for hurricane relief. They don’t know how long they’ll be there, but it might be long enough to experience more than the cleanup after a hurricane.
The linemen are from 32 of Missouri’s 47 electric co-ops. Some will be recycled back this week. Eventually, Missouri’s REC’s might have committed 200 employees to Louisiana. Executive Director Barry Hart of the Missouri Association of Electric Cooperatives says Louisiana officials think those workers could be in Louisiana for 60 days, hooking people back up to power. Hart’s not so sure. He recalls the big ice storm in January, 2004 that stretched from Joplin to St. Louis. He says the longest length of time the 160-thousand REC customers were without power was about 12 days.
So, he thinks the time could be less than sixty days—-except that Hurricane Ike is headed toward the Gulf Coast and by midweek the Missouri linemen who’ve been reattaching lines might learn first-hand what can cause a ll that damage.