Hurricanes and power outages: How electric companies prepare for major storms

Local power companies are sharing tips to keep people safe before, during, and after a storm.
Local power companies are sharing tips to keep people safe before, during, and after a storm.(Source: WDAM)
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 7:48 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - As hurricane season approaches, local power companies are reminding customers how to stay safe before, during, and after a storm.

Hurricane season officially began on June 1, 2022. If there’s one thing we know about storms, power outages are almost guaranteed.

“We are always prepared for a storm,” said Leif Munkel, manager of marketing, communications and member services at PRVEPA. “We always make sure that we have supplies on hand whether that’s poles, transformers. We have them available in case we need to have them ready for major outages.”

Before a storm hits, there are several things power companies want customers to do in order to be storm ready.

“We really want you to think out of the box, too, for your storm kit...,” Munkel said. “We want you to make sure you have cash because anybody who survived Hurricane Katrina knows that you weren’t able to go to an ATM and businesses were only accepting cash at that time.”

“One thing to make sure you have on hand is a non-electric can opener,” said Amanda Mills communications specialist at Dixie Electric Power Association. “A lot of times we see that people may have lots of non-perishable foods, but they only have an electric can opener and that doesn’t do you any good when you don’t have power.”

After the storm rolls through, linemen will be ready to work as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“We have everybody on notice that they have to be available in case we have a storm,” said Munkel.

“After a major storm hits, it’s all boots on the ground,” said Mills. “We’re up here, we’re getting trucks loaded and ready, and we’re sending crews out very quickly. So, they work through the night.”

As they work to make repairs, Dixie Electric crews want you to keep three things in mind to help them help you.

  • No. 1 - Do not put any debris on any downed lines.

“If you have a lot of debris... we want to ask you not to stack debris on top of downed lines,” said Mills. “A lot of times, our guys can go back and re-string those lines.”

  • No. 2 - As you go to check out the damage, remember to move your car away from workers as you pass.

“Second is to always remember the move-over law,” said Mills. “We do ask that, you know, we all want to go see damage after a storm hits, but we do ask that you wait and let our crews get that power restored. It slows the power restoration process down a lot if we have a lot of traffic coming through on those roads.”

  • No. 3 - Never touch any downed line.

“And then lastly, we want you to always treat any downed power line as it’s energized,” said Mills.

Dixie Electric and Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association both have live outage maps online.

For a link to Dixie Electric’s map, click here.

For a link to PRVEPA’s live outage map, click here.

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