FPU responds to icy outages here, DREMC area

Approximately 300 electric customers in Petersburg and Delina were hit hardest in our area by the icy blast on February 16th as freezing rain covered roads, trees and electric lines causing power outages mostly in the northwestern parts of Lincoln County.

FTodd Gleghorn_Ice Storm 2015ayetteville Public Utilities electric crews worked throughout the night and into Tuesday morning to restore power to customers. Outages were reported along Delina, Poorgrab, Bledsoe, and Bee Springs roads as well as Petersburg.  Most outages occurred when the ice-covered trees and limbs snapped under the weight of the ice and came in contact with power lines.

“Our entire utility system held up well under the icy conditions and freezing temperatures,” says Fayetteville Public Utilities’ CEO and General Manager Britt Dye. “With the brunt of the ice storm mostly effecting areas north of Lincoln County, FPU and our customers experienced few problems. Once power was restored here, we were able to send an electric crew to the Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) area to assist in restoring power to those in neighboring Bedford County.”FPU Ice Storm Crew 2-2015

The DREMC service area reported over 13,000 customers without power on Feb. 16th.  With assistance from nine outside electric crews and contractors, including a five-man crew from FPU, power was restored to all but 2,800 customers by Feb. 18th. The FPU crew returned on Thursday, Feb. 19th, once all distribution lines were repaired and less than 100 customers remained without power due to individual service line damage.

“When weather-related outages occur, we have a mutual cooperation among other utilities to assist each other,” he adds. “When Lincoln County sustained damage from the April tornadoes, Duck River Electric sent crews to assist us in rebuilding our system. With power restored here and after coordinating power restoration efforts through the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, FPU was in a favorable situation to return the favor by sending one of our crews to DREMC.”

“Lincoln County has experienced several days with our high temperatures below freezing and wind chills even in the negative degrees,” says Dye. “FPU crews remained on stand-by throughout last week’s freezing weather to monitor local electric loads and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) power supply to our service area. Employees are also closely monitoring natural gas, water, wastewater and telecom operations during the freeze.”

On Feb. 18th, TVA issued Step 10 and Step 20 curtailment procedures to all its power distributors. Step 10 is an instruction for power distributors to curtail in-house energy use. According to Dye, it is not uncommon for TVA to issue Step 10 to the power distributors under freezing weather conditions. TVA’s Step 20 curtailment instructs power distributors to ask electric consumers to voluntarily reduce energy use by lowering thermostats, limiting use of large household appliances and reducing other nonessential energy use in efforts to help TVA avoid load balancing and power supply issues for the entire Valley area.

Electric operations returned to normal, and TVA’s curtailments were lifted by 9:30 am on Feb. 20th.

“Our utility system is well-maintained, and FPU’s pre-storm planning assists us in all departments under extreme weather conditions,” says Dye. “In preparing for the colder temperatures, we purchased additional natural gas for storage early in the week to insure our supply during the extreme weather. We plan for every contingency when it comes to storm preparedness, and each employee knows his and her duties in emergency situations.”

FPU reminds customers to call 433-1522 to report utility outages and leaks. Dispatchers and emergency service crews are available 24 hours a day to assist.

 IN THE PHOTOS:

FPU lineman Todd Gleghorn works to restore power along in DREMC area.

Those FPU crew members assisting DREMC restore power include (from left) Dale Moran, Todd Gleghorn, Gerardo Villafuerte, Terry Honea and Stephen Reese.

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