CVEC crews in Virginia to help after hurricane
by Aziza Jackson
Eight men from Coosa Valley Electric Cooperative left Sunday to help in restoration efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, a 155,000-member electric cooperative headquartered in Fredericksburg, Va., reported Tuesday morning that it had more than 15,000 consumers without electricity.

“We have sent eight men and their equipment to help a fellow cooperative restore service to its members who are out of power,” CVEC General Manager Leland Fuller said. “We have been in contact with our statewide association since Friday of last week helping coordinate Alabama’s response to expected requests.”

The two four-man crews include: Aaron Pate, Brad Cooper, Matt Walker and Allen Henderson, and Robert Smith, Jeff Hosey, John Gauldin and Daron Phillips.

“We sent them on Sunday and they actually arrived there Sunday, but they sat in North Carolina until the storm rolled through,” said Jon Cullimore, manager of marketing for CVEC.

“We staged them ahead of time so they’d be there ready to move.”

Cullimore said the two crews have since made it to Fredericksburg, Va., and are now working to restore service to consumers.

A total of 150 workers from most of Alabama’s electric cooperatives have been sent to Virginia, Maryland and other states affected by this historic storm.

In situations like this, the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives, headquartered in Montgomery, coordinates response efforts.

“The strength of electric cooperatives is their ability to call on their fellow cooperatives in times of need,” Fuller said. “Each of us has the crews and equipment needed to respond quickly and effectively when disaster strikes. We have received assistance in the past and now it’s our turn to help.”

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© 2012