Contact: Connie Kacprowicz, Columbia Water & Light
Communications and Marketing Supervisor
Columbia's electric system sustained heavy damage during last night's storm with over 14,000 customers without power after the storm last night. While many customers have had their power restored, new power outage reports have continued to come in throughout the day. There are around 6,000 customers without power as of 6:00 pm. Restoring power has been challenging due to the wide-spread, extensive damage throughout Columbia. Crews will continue to work tonight but all of the problems will not be fixed before Wednesday.
Columbia Water & Light was helped with restoration efforts today by crews from Par Electric and Asplundh. Municipal utilities from Independence, Fulton, Higginsville, Macon and Hannibal are assisting with restoration efforts through a mutual aid agreement with the Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities.
Repairing electric distribution equipment is dangerous and often very tricky. Customers are reminded that repair work for this storm will take place in the right-of-way, many times in customers' backyards. If customers see crews driving through a neighborhood slowly or walking below the lines, they are checking for any additional problems along the electric lines before energizing a circuit. There have been instances when one problem was repaired, the line was energized and then another undetected problem caused the power to go out again.
According to Electric Distribution Manager Tony Cunningham, "In the 35 years I have worked for the utility, I have never seen anything like this storm damage." The most severe damage was on a line of poles on Fairview between Broadway and Worley. These poles carried one 69 kilovolt transmission circuit and two 13.8 kilovolt distribution circuits. Six poles that are 80 feet tall were broken off at or near the base.
Online outage map: http://outageviewer.gocolumbiamo.com/
Facebook: Columbia Water & Light