North Arkansas Electric Cooperative to help restore electricity after hurricane

SALEM, Ark. - Eight linemen left Wednesday morning to go to Virginia.

James Woody, operations manager at North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, said, "They're a little bit ahead of the storm. This particular cooperative in Virginia has asked for our assistance."

Hurricane Florence could leave devastation behind and leave many without electricity.

Mel Coleman, CEO of NAEC, said, "We've been through a 19-day ice storm. Our members know what it is to be without power. And unfortunately there are gonna be a lot of folks on the east coast who are going to be without power for a substantial amount of time."

North Arkansas Electric Cooperative linemen will be assisting another co-op in Crewe, Virginia, called Southside Electric Cooperative.

They serve 18 counties in their area with more than 55,000 customers.

NAEC has sent men before to help other co-ops in times like these.

"Having our guys there, and all the other tens of thousands of co-op personnel across the country that converge on that region will get the power on that much quicker," Coleman said.

After the hurricane hits, they'll be able to help in any way they can.

"Sometimes it'll be broken poles. Sometimes it'll be wire that's down. They're expecting a lot of service work. So they're expecting a lot of damage to houses I guess and services to houses," Woody said.

But the linemen may move to other areas outside of Virginia depending on what Hurricane Florence does.

"As their needs develop in the storm. Then we'll assist them and then move as needed. We may have to move into Carolina. North Carolina/South Carolina area," Woody said.

"You can't get these guys to quit," Coleman said. "Quit is not in their vocabulary. They don't want to stop until the last person has power."

The linemen should make it to Virginia by Thursday and could be there for up to a couple weeks.