Some Powerful Suggestions for Power Outages


Winter is a very beautiful season. But it can be dangerous, too. As you know, all of us at MTEMC is dedicated to providing safe, affordable and reliable power. However, we also know that mother nature is in charge and she can shut off your power with one chilly breath. So pretend you’re a Boy Scout and be prepared.

General Tips

  • Never touch a fallen power line, and assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. Call us at 1-877-777-9111 to immediately report downed lines. 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. Take extreme caution. If you are using a propane heater, you’ll need to vent the room to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. As a precaution, never leave an alternative heat source burning without a carbon monoxide detector nearby.
  • Never use a natural gas- or propane-fueled oven for heating during a power outage. An inefficiently-burning appliance poses the risk of carbon dioxide poisoning from incomplete combustion.

Some people avoid many of the inconveniences of an outage by using a portable electricity generator. This is great in that it lets you keep the lights on and the refrigerator running, among other things. However, generators can also generate danger such as carbon monoxide poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution and fire. So please follow these guidelines.

Generator Tips

  • 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. Even if you leave the door open, the carbon monoxide buildup can make its way into your home through vents and doorways.
  • Take special care not to overload a generator. Use appropriately sized extension cords to carry the electric load. Make sure the cords have grounded, three-pronged plugs and are in good condition.
  • All generators used to energize your home should be installed by a professional to prevent back feeding the power lines. You can also plug devices directly into your generator without connecting it to your home’s system.

Stay Safe, Even After the Power Comes Back On

We boast one of the best reliability records around. However, things out of our control do happen and occasionally result in a power outage. A few causes are storm damage, trees or vegetation on the lines, animal interference and equipment failure. While we can’t control the weather, we do have a robust vegetation management program, environmentally friendly ways to deter animals and regularly scheduled maintenance.

“Unfortunately, outages happen,” said Chris Jones, MTEMC president and CEO. “But we have Systems Control Operators monitoring the grid 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We have line crews ready whenever the call comes in to get the power restored.”

Each outage presents its own challenges for our line crews to overcome. While our crews are working to restore power, we want members to stay safe. These tips are just some of the ways to help you do that.

  • When in doubt, throw it out. Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise. If a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist, and use the medicine only until a new supply is available.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can measure the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.

For more news and information about your cooperative, visit Tennessee Magazine.



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