Waiting, patiently, for electricity from Jeff Davis Electric Co-op

Waiting, patiently, for electricity from Jeff Davis Electric Co-op

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Most in Calcasieu Parish have their power back, but some on Jeff Davis Electric fear they may be without electricity until close to Thanksgiving.

However, a spokesperson for the Co-op disputes that.

Chainsaws hum in the background of life off Highway 384 in Grand Lake. Beth Ferguson and her family appreciate the volunteers from Arizona helping them see progress.

Her photos from a month ago show how far they have come. Still, there are many repairs to make and no electricity.

This cool day is a welcome break from the heat.

“This is tremendously better than the early days. It was extremely hot. And we were suffering quite a bit. And then you’re so acclimated to the air conditioning.”

For now, laundry dries on a clothesline. Residents say they understand they may not have electricity until November, though efforts are underway to use generators to power a substation for Jeff Davis Electric Co-op in the interim. But Ferguson believes they are doing their best to restore power.

“Our substation, the Hackett substation, was completely demolished. They’ll have to rebuild our whole substation and then try to get electricity to all of us,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson is more concerned about their little community and those who lost far more than their electricity. How are they doing? Will they be back?

“Lots of people lost their homes totally and have either already moved or are planning to move. So, we’re losing a lot of our neighbors. One is going to Montana. A lot are in Lafayette area, Rayne Crowley,” she said.

Ferguson knows normal will arrive eventually and that being agitated and anxious won’t power the lights. She strives to be kind and patient.

“My calm, cool attitude comes because I know I’m not in control. God’s in control, so I just look to him every day and ask what he needs me to do that day. And so, we just get through each day and know he’s in charge of tomorrow,” she said.

Sunday marked one month since Hurricane Laura devastated Southwest Louisiana.

Some residents, who declined to appear on camera, complain they get the run-around when it comes to the date their power will be restored.

A spokesperson for Jeff Davis Electric Co-op says they are working to restore power via transmission lines to the Manchester community on October 5 and that the Hackett substation has mobile generators being installed.

Director of Member Engagement, Addie Armato, says JDEC has never released a timeline saying it may be November when residents receive power.

Further, she says their crews continue to work 16- hour days, seven days a week and that so far 52% of their members power has been restored.

The rest of Armato’s statement is below:

We have brought in an additional 700 people to assist with our reconstruction efforts. After Hurricane Laura 100% of our system was down including 2000 transmission poles, 2000 distribution poles and 13 our of 18 substations were damaged.

At this time 52% of our consumer-members have been restored (approximately 5,830 meters) in Allen, Jeff Davis, Vermillion parishes and parts of Calcasieu parish. JDEC has used creative solutions such as mobile generation assets to bring power to areas that could be energized but still had transmission lines down.

JDEC is currently working to energize Manchester and Hackett substations by October 5. With this target date, it will restore power to approximately 2658 meters bringing our total restoration to 75%.

We remind the public to be very cautious when driving past our worksites and to say away from our job sites for safety purposes.

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