Responding to the task at hand

Published 3:29 pm Friday, May 6, 2011

The task before Alabama Power following last week’s tornado outbreak was nothing less than Herculean.

In all, the storms knocked out power to more than 412,000 customers across the state. More than 5,200 power poles and 400 transmission system structures were broken or damaged, and more than 300 substations lost power.

Most of last Thursday was spent evaluating damage and coordinating response.

Email newsletter signup

By last Friday, those numbers began to dwindle. By Wednesday, more than 98 percent of all APCO power customers had their power restored. As of now, the numbers of remaining customers without power is negligible.

For those of us who have seen the photos from Tuscaloosa, Pleasant Grove and other communities, the idea that power could be restored in seven days or less is almost unfathomable.

From a customer service standpoint, having nearly half a million of your customers without the only service you provide has got to be frustrating. But, to be able to coordinate a response effort with 18 states and numerous other electric Co-Ops and service providers is impressive.

I offer my thanks to our local lineman from Alabama Power, Black Warrior Electric and others who put their personal lives practically on hold as power was restored in, around and beyond their service areas.

The conditions these men and women had to deal with were far less than ideal, and with rescue and recovery efforts going on all around them the pressure was ever-mounting.

My thanks to these men and women for helping their friends and neighbors in their time of need, and thanks to the out-of-state crews who drove toward one of the most significant challenges they are likely to face in their careers.

This kind of effort, and these kinds of results, goes to show what a group of trained and dedicated men and women can accomplish with an organized plan and plenty of “want to.”

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.