DREMC stands ready against winter weather

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Temperatures are now falling in middle Tennessee as the wintery weather moves into the Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) area bringing the potential for a mix of precipitation.

Although the DREMC area is not expected to receive the worst of the winter storm, crews stand ready to respond to possible outages that might result from any snow and ice accumulation forecasted for our service area.

“When winter storms are predicted for our service area, especially when ice is a possibility, it’s all hands-on deck at the cooperative,” says Michael Watson, DREMC president and CEO. “From electric crews and dispatchers to member service representatives and accountants, we will all be working to help our members in the event of a major power outage due to winter weather.”

“Our employees work year-round to keep our distribution system maintained and upgraded to provide reliable, uninterrupted electric service to all our members,” he adds. “From clearing rights of way to upgrading distribution lines and substations, but in the end, we have very little control over what winter storms can do to our system as snow and ice accumulate on trees, which cause limbs to break and fall across our power lines. We’ve even seen times when snow and ice weighs heavy enough to break power lines themselves.”

“The best advice we can offer is to be prepared for possible outages throughout the year, but especially during the winter,” advises Watson. “We encourage our members to stay updated on the winter weather moving into our area and make plans in case we do experience any type of outage due to the weather.”

If DREMC is fortunate enough not to experience major outages related to the winter precipitation, we stand ready to send some of our electric crews to assist with storm recovery efforts in other areas if there’s a request through our cooperative mutual-aid agreement with our statewide office, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.

Remember the following tips to stay safe and warm should you find yourself in the dark after a severe winter event:

Never touch a fallen power line, and assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. Call DREMC at (931) 684-4621 (after hours 931-684-4623) to report it immediately. Avoid contact with overhead lines during cleanup and other activities.

In the event of an outage, an alternate heating source—such as a fireplace, propane space heater, or wood stove—may be used. Extreme caution should be taken.

Plan to stay in an area of the home where the alternate heat source is located.

Fuel- and wood-burning heating sources should be vented. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions.

Make sure carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are working properly.

Do not use a gas-powered oven for heating. A gas oven may go out or burn inefficiently, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Do not use a gas or charcoal grill inside the home. Do not use charcoal briquettes in the fireplace.

If you use a portable generator to power a heating source, be sure the generator is located outside your house for proper ventilation. Do not use a generator in an attached garage. Follow manufacturer’s directions for operating the generator.

Take special care not to overload a generator. Use appropriately sized extension cords to carry the electric load. Make sure the cords have a grounded, three-pronged plug and are in good condition.

Never run cords under rugs or carpets.

Never connect generators to power lines. The reverse flow of electricity can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.

Ideally, your family will stay warm until the power comes back on. But keep an eye on family members for signs of hypothermia, which include shivering, drowsiness, and mental and physical slowness. The elderly and young children are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia. Call 911 immediately if you notice these symptoms. At least one telephone in the house that does not depend on electricity should be available in the case of a power outage.

For more information about power outages, how to prepare for outages and how to remain safe during an outage, visit our website at HYPERLINK “http://www.dremc.com” www.dremc.com.