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TCEC prepared for approaching winter storm, urges members to prepare too

TCEC, with a long history of dealing with winter weather related outages, is busy preparing to restore power if ice brings down trees and power lines this weekend. 

“If there are outages, our objective is to get power flowing again to as many members as safely as possible in the shortest time,” said Chris Purdy, vice president of Member Solutions.

TCEC is stocked with poles, wire, connectors, transformers and other supplies frequently used in the restoration process. Vendors have been contacted to be on standby in case additional materials are needed.

Operations supervisors are reviewing crew assignments so they’ll quickly be able to dispatch help to affected areas. The statewide electric cooperative disaster plan has been activated, so the groundwork for getting help from sister cooperatives is already laid.

“An advantage for us is that electric cooperative line workers all receive the same training,” said Lyle Mathis, vice president of Operations. “This means they can go to another cooperative and work side-by-side with local line workers or work as independent crews.”

TCEC has also contacted contract tree-trimming and electrical line crews to make them aware of a possible call for assistance. All of TCEC’s employees pitch in during major outages wherever needed, increasing the efficiency of line workers by freeing them from support tasks.

TCEC has invested heavily in its system over the past 10 years to improve power reliability. Some of the improvements made include:

  • Fiberglass cross arms for increased strength and longer life.
  • Shorter spans between poles helps with weight distribution on the lines when icing occurs.
  • Larger conductor for the power lines means we can serve a more reliable voltage.
  • Using ductile iron poles in locations where strength can be an issue.
  • Converting the system to more efficient and more modern standard voltages where needed.
  • Investing in a high-tech Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system which improves our capability to remotely control and communicate with our system, especially substations.

The cooperative is also coordinating efforts to facilitate member communication. In addition to fully staffing the cooperative’s phone lines if needed, the SmartHub app is online and can be used to report outages.

How Members Can Prepare

  • Have flashlights with fresh batteries, fresh water in jugs or containers. Have canned food and a battery operated radio.
  • If you have a generator that you hook up during a storm, be sure that it is hooked up properly and if you have any questions please contact TCEC. If it is not hooked up properly, it can backfeed onto our power lines causing a danger to other members as well as our linemen. Test it now and have adequate fuel and oil. Also, conserve generator fuel by turning down the temperature on your hot water heater and home heater during an extended outage. Make sure the generator's exhaust is not getting into your home or garage.
  • Plan to use a safe alternate heating source, such as a fireplace or wood-burning stove during a power outage. Use caution and never leave the heating source unattended.
  • Have a contingency plan in place for those who have a medical necessity for electricity. This includes backup power, extra supplies or an alternate location until the outage is over.
  • Of course, if you see downed lines, please stay clear of the line. Always assume the line is energized. Drive with care as there could be downed poles and cross arms in the road.
  • Call us today at 580.652.2418 if you want assistance with setting up SmartHub, the app used to manage your account and report power outages.

Visit www.tcec.coop or call 580.652.2418 for more information on how to prepare for extended outages.

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