HEMC crews ready to respond to power outages

By Vicki Hyatt | Feb 12, 2014

If the winter storm develops as predicted, Haywood Electric Membership Corporation crews are ready to respond to power outages.

Ken Thomas, HEMC's manager of marketing and communication, said all the trucks were fully stocked yesterday, and about 100 crew members and contract workers stand ready to repair downed lines.

"If the weather forecast comes true, we expect to have several thousand without power by tonight," Thomas said. "It's just the nature of the beast with this heavy, wet snow. The trees are already heavily laden with snow."

In some parts of HEMC's eight-county district, ice storms are predicted, and that will make the possibility of downed trees and branches even more likely — and lead to even more power outages.

The electric cooperative has eight lines where those experiencing outages can call in through either 1-800-951-6088 or 452-228. The technology is set up where individuals can report an outage by telling their name, account number or address. The information is immediately recorded as an outage.

"It's as good as talking to one of our people," Thomas said. "With technology, we can document and log outages much more quickly and it cuts down on (reporting) waiting time. With eight lines and several thousand people out of power, you can imagine how long it would you would be on hold."

HEMC users can also keep track of power outages via the cooperative's Facebook page or on their website.