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Most Caney Fork customers have power restored
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The lights are back on in Warren County after the worst ice storm in 17 years plunged more than half of Caney Fork Electric’s customers into the dark, some going a couple of days without power.
“We had a wonderful day Wednesday,” said Caney Fork general manager Bill Rogers. “We left here at 11 p.m. to get some sleep and there were just a handful of customers still out.”
Rogers said Caney Fork began Wednesday with 2,500 customers without power and the forecast temperatures would dip below zero after sunset.
“We had problems in every corner of our system,” Rogers said, noting Caney Fork serves four full counties, including Warren, and four partial counties. “At its height, we had around 9,000 customers out, but in all there were 15,000 to 17,000 customers affected at one time or another.”
Rogers noted there are 32,000 Caney Fork subscribers, meaning more than half of its customers were affected by Monday’s ice storm. The impact was the largest since the Christmas ice storm of 1998 when 95 percent of Caney Fork customers were affected. The 1998 storm left some people in the dark for up to a week.
Rogers admitted it is frustrating, working to get the power back on just to see a blackout in another area. The process is made doubly tough by the brutal cold and thick ice.
“You’ve got to be on your toes all the time,” Rogers said. “We take safety very seriously.”
Rogers noted Caney Fork workers hard to clear some areas just to reach the spot that needed repair.
“The thing is you can’t have a big enough right of way for an ice storm,” Rogers said, noting it is not only trees falling on wires. “Sometimes the weight of the ice can break the wires by itself. Then, with the new steel reinforced wires, sometimes the pole will give way before the wire does.”
Rogers said Caney Fork was assisted by numerous utilities and tree services from surrounding counties.