Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Missouri public power utilities bring power back to customers in wake of ice storms

Missouri public power utilities in recent days have been hard at work restoring power to customers who lost power in the wake of ice storms that hit the state.

In the wake of ice storms that swept through Missouri on January 1, line crews from several public power utilities volunteered to help restore power to the cities of Hannibal and Monroe City, Mo., the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) reported in a news release.

The response was coordinated through a mutual aid network of utilities that are members of the MPUA.

The 84 utilities in the network are public power electric utilities that have agreements in place allowing staff to assist neighboring communities and states during widespread outages in other communities. Assisting utilities are reimbursed by the communities receiving assistance.

In Hannibal, after significant outages were caused by downed tree limbs hitting power lines, line crews from Columbia Water & Light, Harrisonville, Macon Municipal Utilities and Rolla Municipal Utilities responded to assist the Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) utility staff in power restoration and repair work.

The combined four-city mutual aid response to HBPW included 17 lineworkers with 11 utility work vehicles, including bucket and digger trucks.

In a Facebook post, HBPW reported with continued efforts the morning of Jan. 3, “we have restored service to all parts across our service territory. We estimate we have 25 or fewer individual services that need to be restored. Several of those require additional repairs from electricians before our crew can reconnect service but we are standing by when needed.”

The quick recovery efforts “could not have been possible without the assistance of our mutual aid partnership and the extra tree removal assistance,” the utility said.

In Monroe City, electric crews repairing outages were assisted by a crew of four lineworkers from the city of Higginsville. After power restoration at Monroe City was complete by noon on Jan. 2, the Higginsville crew traveled to Hannibal to join in the HBPW restoration effort.

Meanwhile, City Utilities (CU) Electric Department in Springfield, Mo., on Jan. 1 reported that it responded to numerous outages throughout the CU service territory. “Overnight, CU line and tree crews began responding to outages as weather permitted. The majority of the outages have been created by limbs and trees contacting the power lines. However, there is at least one utility structure that has been damaged. Additional line and tree crews are arriving to assist CU crews,” the utility reported.

On Jan. 2, the utility said that its crews were working on the final remaining outages from the New Year’s Day ice storm, with approximately 70 customers remaining without electric service as of mid-day.

“While our goal and efforts are to restore power to all of our customers there are some that will require work to be completed by a licensed electrician before we can reestablish service,” CU noted.

The storm created outages throughout the CU Electric service territory with approximately 50 percent of feeders being impacted.

City Utilities line crews began responding to outages shortly after 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day as the storm began impacting the city. Response was slowed and affected by the continuing weather pattern as it dropped rain and ice as temperatures fell in the Springfield area, CU said. Line crews were assisted by numerous contract line and tree crews to restore service to customers.