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Power Slowly Returning to Storm-Struck Areas

By Laura Bannon
By lbannon@wbbjtv.com

CHESTER COUNTY, Tenn. - A late January storm was something many West Tennesseans were not expecting, especially the amount of damage the storms left behind. Electric company crews were ready to get to work the second the first call came in for Southwest Tennessee Electric.

Storms left 3,000 customers without power in Chester and Henderson county alone.

"The first pull we worked called in at 1:30 and many of us hadn't slept, so we worked until midnight so it was about a 40-hour stretch," said District Manager for Southwest Electric, Lynn Helton.

The process to get the power back up has taken a little longer than expected Helton said. "The biggest problem we had was due to all the wind we had a lot of trees down and they tear poles we had to go out and clear and contact tree crews and now we're on the tail end."

Bill Poston has worked for more than 50 years in the electric company business. He said, "We try to make sure that all our customers get power and we are dedicated to getting power to them back on as quick as we can."

District manager, Lynn Helton said crews have put up around 30-40 poles around the area, the crews have worked day and night to make sure everyone in the community has power by the end of the week. The crews said they will not stop until the job is done.

For 10 years, Josh Mize has worked for Southwest Electric and said, "We've been working sixteen hours everyday ever since it hit and after that it was 16 hours a day we've coming back everyday to where we can get freshened up"

The crews said in order to put the poles up it takes about two hours and Southwest Tennessee Electric District Manager, Lynn Helton is thankful for the patience of their customers.

"We would like to emphasize the point that our members are very important to us that the reason why we are here until we get back on," he said.