Power company preparing for severe weather - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Power company preparing for severe weather

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

EPB has thousands of miles of power lines to manage. If storms are in the forecast, planning ahead is crucial in case power lines are damaged.

EPB spokesperson john Pless says with more storms possible Thursday tonight, meetings were held several hours in advance to discuss making adjustments.

"To decide whether we're going to hold over that first shift of [operation center] crews through the night and we'll also make calls as to whether we'll hold over our line crews and tree crews," says Pless.

Hundreds of employees and contractors could be affected after any given storm event and they might not make it home when their loved ones expect them.

"They need to make sure they have all the materials that they need," adds Pless. "They also need to make sure that they make arrangements with their families."

Proper planning is also important for making responsible economical decisions, figuring out how much overtime pay will be needed.

The staff in the operations center keeps track of the radar as well as forecast updates from the National Weather Service and the Channel 3 Storm Alert Team. After last year's drought, strong wind or heavy rain can easily take down weakened trees. It happened to Lorraine Davis last week.

"This is the worst one I've had. It's close to my buildings," says Davis, pointing to a large tree lying across her lawn. It's also close to another large tree still standing, but vulnerable.

"If the other one falls when that one's moved, it may hit my garage," fears Davis.

Fortunately, Davis' power came back quickly thanks to the EPB smart grid, but it can take longer to restore power to some customers.

In case your power doesn't come back right away, you could be without electricity for several hours. There are a few simple things you can do to get ready ahead of the storms.

First, have a flashlight handy with fresh batteries in it. Second, have some non-perishable foods available. Third, make sure you turn on the alerts on your smart phone's Channel 3 radar app in case severe warnings are issued.

If power lines end up down across your neighborhood, don't go near them until crews have cleared the area. They could be live wires and you could get electrocuted.

"Even if you think the lines are de-energized, don't try to pull that pine tree off the lines," warns Pless.

He also says if you see a tree in your neighborhood that is leaning on or toward a power line, call 423-648-1EPB (1372) or click here to report it.

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