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‘We’ll get ‘em on’: Johnson County crews wrap day eight of restoration efforts

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 8:03 PM EST
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - For more than one week, many communities in Johnson County continue to see the impacts of the winter weather that made its way through parts of the region.

“This is by far the largest, most devastating outage in Big Sandy RECC’s history,” said CEO Bruce Davis.

Last Tuesday, more than 10,200 members of the co-op were disconnected. By this week, that number was down to less than 2,000 as more than 120 workers continue to hit the roads and bring power back to the area.

“We totally understand the frustration and we apologize for the inconvenience in the length of time that it’s taken,” he said. “But the disaster and the weather that came in here with that massive ice storm, we just can’t control.”

He said the storm knocked out at least 200 power poles- many of which were part of a three-line main structure. According to Davis, the crews have been hard at work to address those issues.

“Hills and the mountains and the hollers, you know, getting the wire across here and there, it’s pretty rough and time-consuming,” said lineman John Sutton.

Sutton is from out of state and said he has been working the lines for 17 years. But, he said, this is the first time he has had to deal with the difficult working conditions he encountered here in Eastern Kentucky.

Working through the terrain to restore power for communities, regardless of the weather, is what he says he signed up for.

“When everybody else is trying to get their generators going and everything like that, you know, when the power goes out, you know, an ice storm, a snowstorm, hurricanes, tornadoes, it’s when we go,” he said. “It’s just what we do.”

He said the crews work tirelessly to make sure thousands of people have access to heat and light, even as many of their families sit at home disconnected as well. So, the workers just ask for patience as they address the rest of the issues.

“All the people that’s been out here I’ve been real good to us. They are nice, they are not anxious about getting their lights on,” Sutton said. “They know we’re here and that you know, we’ll get ‘em on.”

According to Davis, the efforts are already a week ahead of the estimated completion dates, but they will not stop until everyone is back online.

“We know of all the outages. We haven’t forgot any of our members, nor will we,” Davis said. “We promised to you and we committed to you that we’re gonna get this power on as quickly and as safely as possible.”

Davis said the outage map on the website is showing some issues, but the numbers are accurate in-house and they are working to get an accurate map back online.

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