Linemen crews from Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) are on their way to assist in the rebuilding of electric lines in the area ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Creden W. Huber, chief executive officer for SSVEC, stated, “The urgent plea went out from electric utilities in the areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to utilities across the United States for help in restoring electrical power and SSVEC has responded. Crews and vehicles leave today to help Louisiana electric cooperatives in this effort. They will report to the statewide electric cooperative office in Baton Rouge for assignment to assist in rebuilding lines to restore electric service to some of the millions of people without electric power.”
In all, 19 employees from Willcox, Benson and Sierra Vista (linemen, groundmen, mechanic and public relations/communications personnel) are participating. SSVEC Construction Manager Mike Stringer will lead the group. They will be taking nine cooperative vehicles as well as diggers and pole and equipment trailers for the project. Their work time in the area is estimated at three weeks.
Kirby Chapman, chief finance and administration officer for SSVEC, said, “Any utility (or utilities) that SSVEC might assist will provide reimbursement for the work performed by SSVEC’s linemen. At this point those utilities are desperate for the expertise we and and other cooperatives can provide. It will mean long days and some hard work under difficult circumstances for our line crews.”
Jack Blair, chief marketing officer for SSVEC, added, “This action by SSVEC is at the heart of the cooperative way of doing business---working together to accomplish what individual efforts alone cannot. By providing assistance to other co-ops we are reinforcing the concept of cooperation and assuring that if the time comes when we need help, it will be there for us.”
Blair continued, “SSVEC assisted Trico Electric Cooperative in rebuilding their power lines following the fire on Mt. Lemmon two years ago. This effort, however, is much greater. But both are clear demonstrations of one of the seven key cooperative principles: Cooperation among Cooperatives.”