Cleveland Utilities Responds with Aid to Mayfield, KY, Following December Tornadoes

Mutual Aid Mayfield, KY Rymer, Davis, McCracken, Marshall, Kiser                       
Cleveland Utilities (CU) is honored to have aided in power restoration efforts in Mayfield, KY, following the devastation left by tornadoes that swept through a widespread area in the early morning hours of December 11 leaving many without electric service. A crew consisting of Nathan Davis, Barry Marshall, Adam McCracken, and Matt Rymer, working under the direction of Foreman Steve Kiser, left Cleveland around 2 a.m. on Monday, December 13, and arrived in Mayfield around 9:30 a.m. They traveled with a crew from neighboring Athens Utilities. The line personnel worked 16-hour days clearing paths to access the power lines for repair, replacing poles, installing new wire, and completing other work necessary to restore power.  They returned home on Friday, December 24, at 11:55 a.m. According to a Facebook post by Mayfield Electric & Water Systems, 82 percent of their system was re-energized on December 24.

The concept of providing mutual aid and helping other utilities is deep-rooted within the public power network. Restoring services when faced with disasters causing significant damage to the electric grid and creating widespread power outages often exceeds a local utility’s resources. This is where mutual aid agreements kick in and public power communities from all over the country are standing by to help those in times of crisis. Through the collaborative help of many, power can be restored in a faster, more efficient manner. The request for aid was coordinated by the Tennessee Valley Public Provider Association (TVPPA).

In response when asked about their experience, the crew echoed the same sentiments, and all were thankful for the opportunity to go and use their skills to help others. Foreman Steve Kiser stated it was heartbreaking to see firsthand the devastation left behind by the storms. He said, “We continue to keep all those affected in our thoughts and prayers as they move forward, recover and rebuild.” It was a fulfilling experience for the entire crew. Although it involved long days, hard work in challenging conditions, and was a sacrifice to leave family, they would do it all over again.

President/CEO Tim Henderson said, “Any time there is a need, we make it a priority to send help when we are able. It’s assuring to know that public power utilities come together during times of great adversity to help each other. We received outside help following the tornadoes in 2011 and 2020. I am honored that CU was able to play a part and give back. Our line workers are always ready and willing to respond when the call is received, and I am proud of their work ethic and servant hearts.”