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Clay Electric crews head north to provide storm relief

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KEYSTONE HEIGHTS —

Clay Electric Cooperative, on Friday, sent 14 of its personnel, along with seven construction vehicles and two support vehicles, to Charlotte, N.C. in advance of a major winter storm that was expected to hit that region with ice and snow.

The crews left Keystone Heights around 8 a.m. following a request from Union Power Cooperative in Monroe, N.C. for assistance. Union Power officials expected the storm to cause massive power outages.

Clay’s crews drove to a staging area near Charlotte, where they prepared to help Union Power personnel begin restoration efforts once the storm subsides. The crews were assembled in advance of the storm’s arrival due to the likelihood the storm will halt interstate highway travel for several days.

The length of time Clay’s crews will be in North Carolina depends on the severity of the storm and the amount of damage it causes.

According to Clay Electric crew chief Ronald Harper, much of the damage caused by a winter storm is due to tree limbs becoming heavily weighted with ice. The tree limbs snap from the extra weight and then fall across and damage distribution lines, poles, transformers and other equipment.

Clay Electric has assisted electric cooperatives in other states when their distribution systems were damaged by storms or other natural disasters, and in turn they have assisted Clay with its restoration efforts when hurricanes and tropical storms visited North Florida.

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