Massive Storm Results in Widespread Damage

CEO Tyler Carlson praises employee efforts and aid from Arizona’s electric cooperatives while thanking MEC members for their support and endurance

A crew from Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative assists the MEC crews by removing a fallen pole.

A massive storm rolled through Bullhead City and the surrounding area on Sunday, September 4, with wind gusts over 80 mph, resulting in widespread damage and power outages in Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC)’s Western service territory.

At the height of the storm, 36,000 member meters were without power. Key to the massive outage was the damage to the transmission provider’s 230 kilovolt (kV) system, which cut MEC’s access to the bulk power grid, in addition to substantial damage to MEC’s distribution system.

By early Monday, September 5, 16,000 members had been restored, and by 6:30 p.m. that night the outage was down to just 5,000 members. This was despite over 140 poles being either down or severely damaged.

MEC CEO Tyler Carlson praised not only his crews, but other electrical cooperatives who came to MEC’s aid.

“MEC crews, and those of our sister cooperatives, worked round the clock to restore power. They are our true utility superheroes,” said CEO Tyler Carlson. “Every employee, in every position in the cooperative, helped at some level and picked up and did whatever was needed to get the job done and support our crews. Saying thank you to the employees and crews just does not seem like enough.”

All residential members’ power was officially restored at 11:14 p.m. on 9/9/22 and the final business member’s power was restored at 4:55 p.m. on 9/10/22.

We have evaluated the system damage and have a preliminary report of:

  • 140 poles damaged (wood, steel and concrete)
  • 19 miles of line replacement

We couldn’t have done this without help from these other resources called upon to support the restoration efforts: Arizona Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Benson AZ; Trico Electric Cooperative, Marana, AZ; Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Willcox AZ for their crews and supplied materials; and Navopache Electric Cooperative, Lakeside, AZ for donated materials.

Members of Mohave Electric along with Trico and Sulphur Springs work on replacing poles along the Bullhead Parkway in Bullhead City.

“We are also deeply appreciative to our members for their patience, endurance, and support,” added Carlson. “This storm caused the most severe damage to MEC’s system in our history, by far. And may be the first time for our community, where a storm this severe led us to invoke the assistance from our neighboring electric Cooperatives. This is what Cooperatives are all about.

“One of our principles, Cooperation Among Cooperatives, is about serving members most effectively and strengthening the cooperative movement by working together. I am proud of our entire team, our line crew, operations, call center, auto shop, member service, and everyone who took part in the restoration and support of our members. I am proud of our community for coming together to assist members in a time of need.”

MEC also wants to thank the nonprofits and volunteers that have provided resources to our members during this time. Thank you all for your time and dedication to our community.