PINE BELT, Mississippi (WDAM) – Around the Pine Belt, power companies are bracing for inclement weather and saying they’re ready to respond.
Randy Smith, chief executive of Dixie Electric, said before a storm hits, the company makes sure they have a full staff and have extra people on call.
“We really spend most of the summer making sure our equipment and materials are stacked and that we have as many staff as possible,” says Smith. “The couple, three days before, we double check, we make sure we have fuel, we make sure that the equipment we ordered has arrived. “
Drummonds McAlpin, vice president of administration at Southern Pines Electric, says companies in the Pine Belt have experience and knowledge of how to deal with storms.
“So we just respond according to our needs. Now, we’ve planned as hard as we can to get people here and prepare. But if the storm turns out to be worse than we expected, then we bring in more people. So it’s very fast, we have to be calculated in our response, but sometimes it’s hard to do it before the storm. All we can do is work on a story and be as prepared as possible, ”said McAlpin.
Southern Pines and Dixie Electric both say their crews are on standby to monitor conditions and get to work on any damage.
“We’re going to wait until the winds have calmed down enough that they can get out safely,” Smith said.
“We just asked for patience. We ask for understanding because safety is our most important thing, and we want our people and the people who come to help us to be as safe as possible in this restoration. We have fantastic communications teams who will keep our members up to date, hour by hour, to know where the outages are, where our teams are and what the restoration expectations are, ”said McAlpin.
Companies advise everyone to have enough food and water to go 36 hours without electricity. If you have a back-up generator, Southern Pines and Dixie Electric have a few tips.
“Come let us know, because it’s much safer to know that there is a generator on this system and maybe we can disconnect it before we work on those lines,” says McAplin.
“If you have a generator, please plug it directly into the device you are using if you can. Otherwise, that feed in the outlet could cause a problem, ”says Smith.
Linemen and the electrical response in the pine belt are ready for the storm, whether it hits here or nearby.
“We are one of the 26 cooperatives in the state. So depending on where it hits in the state, we may turn to them for help. If it knocks on them, they can call on us for help, ”says Smith.
“When it comes to hurricanes and major blackouts that can affect our entire system, which stretches some 11,000 miles across 14% of the state of Mississippi, it spreads us out and disperses, that’s when we rely on our mutual aid within the state, or external resources from other states with which we have cooperation contracts, ”says McAplin.
An important tip for power companies is to stay indoors during and immediately after a storm so you don’t run into power lines. You should treat every broken power line as if it was live and stay off the roads until power companies and emergency responders can clear the area.
You can report power outages and see outage updates by zone for each company below:
Mississippi Power: https://outagemap.mississippipower.com/external/default.html
Electric Dixie: https://prepared.dixieepa.com/your-outage-resources/outage-map
Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association: https://www.outageentry.com/CustomerFacingAppJQM/outage.php?clientid=PRVEPA
Electric Southern Pine: http://outages.southernpine.coop/
Sing the Electric River: http://outageviewer.singingriver.com/
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