Medina EC avoided damage from Hurricane Harvey, but they are now responding to the storm by sending assistance to other cooperatives in need.
Medina EC activated its Emergency Operations Plan and began meeting last Monday, 8/21, to develop a response plan as Harvey appeared ready to make landfall on the Texas coast and impact much of the Medina Electric Cooperative service area. When the storm did hit, the 17 counties served by the cooperative fell just outside of the high winds and large rainfall totals on the western side of the storm. From 8 a.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. on Sunday, only 63 meters lost power. Most of those outages were the result of high winds and lasted an average of just over an hour. There was no significant damage to the Medina system.
Some neighboring cooperatives were not so lucky. San Patricio Electric Cooperative and Victoria Electric Cooperative both saw their systems take direct hits from the storm. Many of their members have been without power since Friday, and could be without power for quite some time as entire systems, including transmission lines, have to be rebuilt. Cooperation Among Cooperatives is one of the Seven Cooperative Principles under which Medina EC operates, and in times like these, we see that principle in play.
Sunday morning, 8/27, a decision was made that our system had fared well enough to spare crews and equipment. Four servicemen were sent to Victoria Electric Cooperative to help with their restoration efforts. As of Monday, 8/28, another 5 crew members were sent to San Patricio Electric Cooperative to help with their restoration efforts.
Four of the 9 Linetec contract crews who are retained by Medina EC for large construction projects have also been released to help San Patricio with rebuilding efforts. In addition to staff, Medina EC has sent 6 trucks, 2 ATVs and a pallet of water. Medina EC will be rotating other crew members to impacted areas to help with restoration for the coming weeks, for as long as help is needed.
The assistance that Medina Electric is sending to neighboring cooperatives could impact members, and we ask for their patience and understanding during this time. Members could see construction times impacted, since we have less staff and contractors to accomplish these jobs. The priority right now is to support these cooperatives with restoration, and Medina EC construction projects will take second priority in the short run, which could be from 2 weeks to a month. Members could also see longer outage times if there is a widespread storm, since we will have less staff available to respond to outages.
We realize this is inconvenient, but we ask for everyone’s patience as we work to help those who have lost everything and we thank our members for their assistance in this process.
If you would like to keep up with cooperative employees who are helping with the rebuilding process, you are encouraged to monitor Medina Electric’s Facebook page. They will be sharing updates and photos of staff in these areas as able.