LITTLE ROCK — The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are dispatching 132 line workers, 57 right-of-way workers and equipment to assist Beauregard Electric Cooperative of DeRidder, La. and Claiborne Electric in Homer, La. with power restoration efforts that were caused by Hurricane Laura.

Crews from Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark, Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, Clay County Electric Cooperative of Corning, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, First Electric Cooperative of Jacksonville, Ozarks Electric Cooperative of Fayetteville, Petit Jean Electric Cooperative of Clinton and Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana will provide construction, repair and right of way assistance.

“Many of the crews we are sending were dealing with power outages here in Arkansas last week, but were eager to help our neighbors in Louisiana,” said Buddy Hasten, president/CEO of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. “These linemen are dedicated to helping others in times of need and volunteered for this assignment. We are glad we are able to lend a hand to our fellow cooperative members in Louisiana.”

Hasten said that in addition to the crews and equipment, AECI has shipped a substantial amount of power line infrastructure materials to cooperatives and municipal electric systems that were devastated by Hurricane Laura. He said that many of the electric systems in southwest Louisiana are reporting that the majority of their power delivery systems will have to be completely rebuilt.

The men will be housed in a “tent city” that adheres to pandemic guidance to protect them from the COVID-19 virus. Special air filters capable of removing 99.4 percent of the virus have been installed on the HVAC equipment and beds have been spread out farther than would normally be done. The crews are expected to stay on the hurricane restoration assignment for 10 days. After 10 days, additional crews will be rotated into service.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

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