ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Linemen from a dozen different utility companies have descended upon Athens and Limestone County, all working together to restore electrical service to tornado ravaged communities.
According to spokesperson Holly Hollman, as of Sunday evening some 1,200 homes and businesses remain without electricity, down from a high Monday night of over 16,000 customers in the dark.
Hollman says crews from Huntsville, Decatur, Cullman, Russellville, Florence, Tuskegee, Troy, Guntersville and Scottsboro are helping, as well as crews from Tennessee, including Lawrenceburg, Benton County and Tullahoma. They are removing broken poles and tangld wire, setting new poles and stringing cable.
Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said earlier this week there are portions of the system that are having to be rebuilt from scratch. He estimated some 200 power poles were downed by Monday’s tornados, many of them along Highway 72 west of Athens.
Utility officials continue to urge customers to use generators cautiously. Gasoline generators should only be operated outdoors and should only be directly connected to a home’s electrical system by trained electricians to prevent power from being fed back up the service line and posing a tremendous hazard to linemen or others who may come into contact with downed power lines.