Spring Into Storm Safety With President Chris Jones


 

We think about weather a lot. Extreme temperatures (like those in January) mean higher electric consumption, so we’re always mindful of those impacts on our members. We work to inform and encourage members about using electricity wisely. We want you to be comfortable when it is cold (or hot), but we also encourage you to be especially mindful of overall usage during those times and how your consumption determines future bills.

We also think about how extreme weather can impact our electric system … and potentially knock out your power. Our most significant weather threat is a major ice storm. But when threats of snow and ice melt away as winter fades, spring rings in the likeliest time for the most violent weather of the year. 

Yes, harsh weather takes its toll on electric infrastructure … and trees. We work hard to minimize weather-related outages, and your cooperative boasts some of the best reliability statistics in the industry. But outages will happen, and extreme weather is often the cause.

So communication, when those rare outages occur, is an area we’ve been working hard to improve. As you may remember, we completed our advanced metering infrastructure deployment in 2016. We have reduced average outage response times thanks to how that technology communicates with us. The technology relays information from across the system back to us, so our Systems Control Operators can more accurately identify and verify outages and then deploy crews quicker to get power flowing again.

But our newest technology to improve outage communications is right at your fingertips, and I want to be sure you know about it for this spring storm season. I’m talking about our new

myMTEMC app (and also our new web portal at mtemc.com). The free mobile app helps our operators provide near real-time information about outages. Through it, you’re able to report outages and even add comments that will help operators relay important information to the dispatched crews.

The most common question from members during an outage is, “When will power be restored?” We’re working hard to get better at answering that question, though it’s often difficult to predict. One thing to remember is that we must make sure it’s safe to send linemen to an outage area (I’m sure you’ll agree). If we know lightning is in the immediate area, for example, we will ask our crews to wait. They are always eager to get out there, of course. But as soon as it’s safe, they’ll arrive to assess the outage, estimate the time for restoration, and then work as quickly as possible to restore power.

If you experience an outage, please report it through your myMTEMC app or web portal, or you can always call 1-877-777-9111.

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