The Blizzard of '93 changed the way EPB operated - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

The Blizzard of '93 changed the way EPB operated

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It cost EPB $2.6 million to restore power, and repair the damage from the blizzard twenty five years ago, Wendell Boring was on the front lines as a journeyman electrician.

"Well at 3 o'clock in the morning, we go to our first call and said hey it's snowing, and we go out and there's nearly two feet of snow on the ground, and so we go out on the first call, we go through East Brainerd, the trees are falling behind us, because literally they called it thunder snow," says Boring.

About 72,000 EPB customers were without power. Some waited eight days for power to be restored. Wendell says his first priority was to get to those who needed medical assistance. 

"Our general manager's wife was really sick, and they needed a generator, and we had to hand carry it up a mile on a hill to get it to his house," adds Boring.

Vehicles were limited. Don Nanney has been with EPB for 40 years. When the storm hit he was an engineer, but like many, had several jobs

"EPB had no 4-wheel drive vehicles at the time, so they paid me to use my own personal truck to go out and scout because we didn't have any vehicles to go out in the snow," says Nanney.

A team of 14 people were answering customer calls between 8am and 5pm. Twenty five years later, several additions have been made. They now have around 100 people in customer service, available 24 hours a day, and more attention is being focused on keeping trees off power lines.

Boring adds, "We have about 125 men and women, and that's all they do every day is trim trees on EPB system."

Fewer power lines are above ground.

Nanney states, "After that period of time, EPB went into a heavy underground philosophy, on so that any new sub-divisions put in were underground."

He credits the storm with sparking that change, "It changed the way EPB worked," says Nanney.

EPB tells Channel 3, due to all the outages, the cost of lost of service during the storm was around $896,000.

Have a weather related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.



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