UPDATE: Thousands still without power in Boone County

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | 11:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:33 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 27, 2013

COLUMBIA — When Billy Richards lost power at his rural home on South Olivet Road Tuesday afternoon, he was well-prepared.

He had a wood stove to provide heat, and he froze water to keep his food cold. He shoveled snow with his tractor, and he used his 4-wheel drive truck to get around.

Richards was one of thousands of Boone County residents still without power Wednesday morning, but around 1:30 p.m. crews were able to restore power to his home.

As of 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, there were still about 2,479 customers of the Boone County Electric Cooperative without power. At that time there were about 371 outage locations throughout the county. More than 12,000 customers lacked power at the peak of the outages, according to a press release from the cooperative.

The cooperative cannot provide an estimate of when power will be restoredspokesman Jim Robertson said.

Crews from the Intercounty, Lewis County, and Howell-Oregon cooperatives and Columbia Water and Light are helping to restore power.  

"We're working as quickly and safely as we can," Robertson said.

Rita and James Schulte have been without power since 10 a.m. Tuesday at their home on East Mexico Gravel Road. On Wednesday morning, crews told them they should have power restored by the end of the day, but were still without electricity around 4 p.m.

"We are very lucky; we put a generator on our house last year, so we were able to start the generator yesterday afternoon," Rita Schulte said. "We've had heat and light except when we turned it off last night."

They have been staying in their house, leaving only to shovel their main drive or feed their horse. Their neighbors are also without power.

Customers suffering from an outage should report it by calling the cooperative at 573-449-4181 with the phone linked to their account or with their account number on hand, Robertson said. Downed power lines should be reported by calling 911.

Robertson said the main obstacle for repair crews is the poor condition of many rural roads.

"The rural roads are very hard to navigate right now, and it's still snowing, so that's giving them a lot of difficulty," Robertson said.

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.

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