North Carolina's electric cooperatives sent line crews to Louisiana this week to assist with power outages caused by Hurricane Rita. Rita, a category three hurricane when it reached landfall, slammed the Louisiana-Texas border Saturday morning with winds reaching 120 mph.

North Carolina electric co-ops sent more than 100 line technicians from eight NC co-op systems. The NC co-op crews were sent to assist two Louisiana electric cooperatives, which include Beauregard Electric Cooperative (DeRidder, Louisiana) and Washington St. Tammany Electric Cooperative (Franklinton, Louisiana). Additional line crews will be sent later this week from North Carolina's electric cooperatives.

This is not the first time in 2005 the NC's electric cooperatives have been deployed to assist cooperatives in other states. More than 375 line technicians from 21 NC co-op systems assisted with power restoration efforts after Hurricane Katrina at several Mississippi electric cooperatives in August. Previous to that, 185 line technicians were sent to Alabama in July to help with power restoration after Hurricane Dennis.

The deployment of help is part of a mutual aid agreement shared between the nation's nearly 1000 electric cooperatives to help one another in times of emergency, such as natural disasters.

North Carolina's 27 independent electric cooperatives serve approximately 2.5 million people in 93 of the state's 100 counties.