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Thursday, February 13, 2014

It was Twenty Years Ago



In light of the date and the present news about the storm affecting so many of our neighbors, we thought you might like to relive (in memory only) our big ice storm. 

The ice storm of 1994 struck on the evening of Thursday, February 10.  The entire area awoke to heavy ice, the sounds of falling branches and uprooting trees, and the inevitable result of electrical outages as the trees and ice destroyed a large part of the Glasgow EPB electric system.  At that time the EPB had a total of 33 employees, all who reported to work as quickly as they could navigate the obstacle course of downed lines and trees, only to find that the majority of the city was without power. It seemed that everyone was calling our office in hopes that we could perform quick fixes.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible as the damage was severe.  For the next five days our employees worked around the clock, rotating shifts for a few quick hours of sleep in a few rooms obtained at a local hotel, on the sofa in our lobby, or in a vacant office.  We resorted to calling Bowling Green, Frankfort and Louisville, who gratefully answered our pleas and sent in additional crews and equipment.  By noon on Saturday approximately one-half of our customers had their power restored, with approximately 90% back in service by midday on Monday.

While those of us who were employees at the time never want to relive those days, we did witness some amazing things about our community.  Did we receive angry, even threatening, phone calls.  Were our crews in the field accosted and even harassed if they stopped for a brief moment to eat a quick meal? Unfortunately, that happened too. People were without a fundamental need, and we were the logical ones to lash out at in the situation.  But they were the minority.  There were far more individuals who found a way to pull together to work through the situation, and even help us in the process. Neighbors reached out to each other and had neighborhood “dinners” prepared on grills as their refrigerators and freezers failed.  Restaurant and grocery store owners came to our offices carrying food that they could no longer use in order to feed our crews and staff.  Both funeral homes opened their doors to act as shelters and provide comfort for those in need.  And people even showed up at our door from nearby cities with chainsaws and gasoline in hand, saying they had heard about our problems and offered to clear ways for our crews to get to some areas. 

During the past 20 years we have made a lot of improvements to our service.  We now have two TVA delivery point substations with alternate feeds that can provide power to our city, and although it upsets some people, immediately after the storm we instituted a  tree trimming policy that helps prevent a repeat of that event.  Our EPB team members are your neighbors, friends and families, and we are proud to have served you for the past 51 years.  While we certainly hope that we never experience another event of that magnitude, please know that we are always here to serve our community – no matter the weather or circumstances.

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