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Clay Electric linemen help restore power after Hurricane Florence


Linemen in front of truckL-R Clay Electric Co-operative employees Brody Snell, Matt Conklin, Damien Bowling and Eric Moyer return from helping restore power to North Carolina residents in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence flooded the eastern seaboard in mid-September, causing major flooding and wind damage to huge areas of the East Coast. Damage is estimated at over $38 billion, making Florence the sixth most costly hurricane to affect the United States. North and South Carolina faced the brunt of the storm, suffering the worst damage and most casualties. Hurricane Florence has inflicted a death toll of 48 people and left towns and neighborhoods reeling even as the flood waters start to recede. Hundreds of thousands of people across the affected states sat without power after Florence battered them. In the immediate aftermath, cooperatives mobilized to restore power to their members. 


Clay Electric Co-operative was one of the many cooperatives across more than a dozen states to send mutual aid to those affected by Hurricane Florence. Clay Electric’s crew made the long drive to South River Electric Membership Cooperative in North Carolina as Florence was forecast to make landfall. They were staged with materiel and workers from all over the map to be ready to respond to outages as soon as it was safe to do so. 

The idea of mutual aid is tied directly to one of the seven fundamental principles of the cooperative model, cooperation among cooperatives. “Facing hardships like this together gives us more resources than we could ever come up with alone,” said Edward VanHoose, CEO of Clay Electric Co-operative. “We are all co-op members, and helping our sister cooperatives is just the right thing to do. We know if we needed help, they would be here for us.”

Hurricane Florence left a third of a million members without power in the Carolinas’ cooperative territories. Clay Electric’s relief crew spent more than a week in North Carolina working 17-hour days to help the members left without power. We are grateful for their willingness to sacrifice time at home with their families to help our co-op family recover from this natural disaster. Ultimately, recovering from disasters like these require the dedication and tireless effort of good people. Clay Electric Co-operative is blessed to have the best working with us.