Electric co-op working to get their neighbor's power back on

One of the worst hit areas in east Texas is Cherokee County. After the storm hit, Cherokee County Electric Co-op says 75% of their customers were without power. That's now down to just 18%. As KLTV 7's Molly Reuter explains, co-op employees, many who don't have power themselves, have been working non-stop to get the power back on.

"Lots of broken poles, transformers ripped off the poles."

In his 28 years at Cherokee County Electric Co-op, Jim Bob Lindsey says Ike is one of the worst storms he's seen.

"We have miles and miles of wire to cover and unfortunately the line doesn't always go down the road. They go through the woods, through the creek bottoms...It's a slow process to get around."

Lindsey says their employees are working 18 to 20 hours a day, many who then go home to no electricity themselves.

"All these guys, they live in this area, they go to school in this area. You know their wives back home want to know why their husband can't get their power back on, but they have to stay out on the field."

For the most part, Lindsey says their customers have been very patient. In the meantime, many have been going to Wallace-Thompson Hardware in Rusk to buy a generator.

"There has just been people in line, just 20-30 people in line needing generators," said Pam Moore of Wallace-Thompson Hardware.

The further south you go, Lindsey says the worse it gets. Businesses in Rusk just got their power back, many in Alto are still without. But by Friday, Lindsey says everyone should have electricity.

"Of course, all the credit goes to these guys in the field."

Cherokee County Electric Co-op says its called in crews from six different electric companies for help. Right now, officials tell us they have 40 trucks out working their service area.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com