EPB at 'final few' on outages, but finish line keeps moving
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- One look at Ray Phillips' backyard, and you won't need to ask why Highview Drive and its immediate neighbors still have no power, nine days after the Southeast's onslaught of tornadoes.
"This is an act of nature, nothing you could have done about it," he says.
Only one of his trees remains standing. Out of about twenty.
Friday, EPB had every type of vehicle and specialist necessary to restore power, traversing his neighborhood.
But re-stringing wires, means cutting through proverbial Gordian knots of electrical lines, tree limbs, and pulverized power poles.
"We picked up 114 new calls between 8 o'clock and noon today (Friday)," says Don Nanney, in EPB's operational division. "We're working so that we can get completely caught up by the end of the day."
'Caught up' is relative, considering that the over-time clock's been running since last Wednesday.
"Dollar figure? Ballpark? I wouldn't even have a clue on it," Nanney says.
Ray Phillips doesn't either, especially when you ask when an electrician might declare his home's wiring safe.
"Come next month, I'll be 82, so I think I've earned a little bit of patience," he says.
His neighbor, Dr. Sue Cox, 86, concurs.
"I grew up in the Depression, and I know what it's like," she says. "One can get by with very little."
The storms spared her house, save a 'laceration' in her living room ceiling.
But compared to one of her camp outs in the Smokies?
"This is a piece of cake," says Cox.
She won't missing having to keep a firm grip on a flashlight. She has no fondness for cold showers either.
Ray Phillips hasn't had to stumble in the dark, thanks to a generator loaned from his nephew.
But what he misses most?
"The Cartoon Network," says Phillips.