Leader Blues

Saturday, June 13, 2009

TOP STORY >> Thousands left without power after wind, rain

Leader senior staff writer

No injuries or deaths were reported from a dark, dangerous-looking storm front that moved across the area Friday afternoon, but trees were uprooted, limbs strewn about and power was out to thousands.

Locally, 7,000-8,000 people were without power in the Ward area after a First Electric transmission structure was damaged, according to Neal Frizzell, a cooperative spokesman.

The structure carried a 69,000-volt transmission line to three substations. Fortunately, the damage was to a cross arm and not to the pole itself, he said.

Frizzell said crews were trying to repair it before dark, but that crews would work through the night.

He estimated the total number of customers without electricity throughout the cooperative’s 17-county service area at 25,000, with about half of those in the local area.

“About 12,500 of those are in north Pulaski County, Lonoke County and south White County,” Frizzell said.

Most affected in this area were the communities of Mountain Springs, Ward, Mount Carmel and Zion Hill.

Most of the problems were from limbs on power lines, he said.

Entergy’s interactive map showed more than 1,200 Jackson-ville customers without power from among the 42,000 customers without power from Harrison to Pine Bluff .

Outages in Russellville, Dardanelle and Danville accounting for about one third of those and another third in the Conway area, according to Barbara Merrick, an Entergy spokesperson.

Closer to home, about 3,970 Little Rock customers were without power and another 675 in Beebe.

Repair crews will work throughout the night to restore power as quickly as possible, Frizzell said.

First Electric members may report power outages by calling 1-888-827-3322.