Utility Companies Prepare for Next Winter Storm

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If there is anything power companies dread more, it is an ice storm - and the damage it can cause.

That's why utility companies, from the big ones like AEP, to the small energy cooperatives around the state, are all getting ready for whatever mother nature throws at them over the next 24 hours.

It is crunch time in the war room at the Energy Cooperative, serving thousands of customers across Licking County.

CEO Todd Ware says wind and ice are the biggest enemies in the mission to keep the power on.

"When the ice sticks to the lines, it pulls lines down,” Ware said. “When it gets on trees, the trees want to fall onto the lines, and it just creates havoc on the system."

For now, he says it's wait and see, but his crews must be ready for anything.

And that's why workers were busy as the day wore on Tuesday, checking equipment and making sure everything was in working order.

Extra poles lie ready, just in case, along with extra equipment sitting on skids in the garage for out-of-town crews, just in case they are called in later this week.

”We basically have an agreement between each other that if we get hit bad and we need crews, the other cooperatives will send crews in, and vice versa for us,” Ware said. “If the southern part of the state may get hit with more ice, we may survive and not have much damage, and the southern coops may call for crews, and we may send crews down to help them."

Ware says in the business of providing power to rural communities, it is a two-way street.

In some past storms, he says he's had as many as 120 workers helping to get the power back on.