Pearl River Valley Electric continues restoration from Columbia tornado

Pearl River Valley Electric continues restoration from Columbia tornado

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Pearl River Valley Electric Association 

Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association (PRVEPA) crews were out in force this morning responding to outages caused by a tornado that struck the Columbia area yesterday. The storm caused significant damage to primary power lines along Highway 98, as well as to the Lakeview subdivision and East Marion High School areas. Damage was also sustained in a few areas in Lamar County.

As of 8:00 a.m., approximately 2,100 member-consumers were without service in the two counties, down from a peak of 4,100 last night. Line crews from the Association's district offices in Hattiesburg, Purvis and Wiggins worked with Columbia crews well into the night assessing damage and beginning restoration. This morning, additional line crews from outside the area and tree timming crews arrived to help with the effort. Overall, more than 150 linemen began work at daylight today.

"There are more than 100 poles that will need to be replaced, and that number may go up as we continue to assess the damage," said Randy Wallace, PRVEPA's general manager. "Many of the lines affected along Highway 98 are large, double circuit lines that carry heavy loads. Those lines are more difficult to rebuild, but at least they are accessible. We know we also have lines down in more wooded, rural areas, which is why we have called in the tree trimmers to clear the way. We plan to make as much progress to full restoration as we can today."

Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association serves more than 47,000 member-consumers in parts of 12 counties in south Mississippi. The Association's headquarters is in Columbia, with district offices located in Hattiesburg, Purvis and Wiggins. Storm-related information can be found at


Anyone who sees a broken or burning wire should stay away and call Pearl River Valley Electric or local authorities. Warn others to keep clear of the fallen line and avoid contact with trees, fences or anything else the line may be touching.


During extended outages, some members may use portable generators at their homes or businesses. It's very important to use all generators correctly. Do not use an extension cord to plug a generator into a household outlet. This can cause serious injury to you and/or restoration crews. Instead, only connect appliances directly to the generator. If you have any questions about the use of a generator, visit or call PRVEPA and ask for generator assistance.


As Pearl River Valley Electric crews make repairs to the electric system, it is important that members make sure the electric facilities at their homes or businesses are intact. Pearl River Valley Electric cannot restore electricity wherever electric meter boxes or service entrance pipes on the side of a facility are damaged. Members are responsible for contacting a licensed electrician to have those repairs made and may then call to have power restored.