Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation is on high alert and preparing for this weekend’s storm which could bring up to half an inch of ice in the Blue Ridge mountains and possible light icing in the foothills.
Blue Ridge Electric members are advised to report all outages to the cooperative’s PowerLine: 1-800-448-2383.
All Blue Ridge Electric line crews, along with the cooperative’s right-of-way and other contract crews, are prepared and will be ready to respond should outages occur. Crews from sister cooperatives are also on stand-by to assist if needed with power restoration efforts. Member service representatives and other Blue Ridge employees are also on high alert, ready to respond to member needs.
“Sunday’s temperatures will decide whether this turns to rain before causing a lot of problems but current weather reports show that a major ice event could occur Sunday afternoon, said Lee Layton, chief operations office for Blue Ridge Electric. “We will be constantly monitoring conditions and ready to respond if the weather causes outages. Up to one-tenth of an inch of ice typically doesn’t cause trouble but when ice accumulates to above one-tenth of an inch it can cause problems on power lines,” Layton explained. “When icing is above one-quarter of an inch, it can cause major problems not only on power lines but also by pulling down trees and limbs outside the right-of-way onto power lines,” he added.
Blue Ridge Electric offers the following tips to help members stay comfortable and safe if outages occur. Have the following supplies on hand, preferably in a central location that each member of the household can locate quickly if needed:
• Flashlights and fresh batteries
• Radio with fresh batteries for weather and news reports. Or, have electronic devices well-charged and a back-up power supply available.
• Extra blankets, sleeping bags, quilts
• Wind-up or battery operated clock
• Non-perishable food
• Manual can opener
• Paper plates and plastic utensils
• Bottled water or gallon jugs filled with water for drinking and cooking
• Formula and extra diapers for babies
• Thermos for keeping drinks and baby formula warm
• Emergency numbers such as Blue Ridge Electric’s PowerLine, local emergency management, police and hospital contacts.
As a safety reminder, Blue Ridge Electric reminds the public that downed power lines can still be energized and therefore dangerous or even deadly. Stay far away from downed power lines; no one except a trained line technician should ever handle a downed power line. If you see a downed line, please report the location immediately to Blue Ridge Electric by calling any local district office or 1-800-451-5474.
For checking outage status, Blue Ridge Electric provides an online outage map at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com. The cooperative also provides information during widespread outages its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc and Twitter page atwww.twitter.com/blueridgeemc.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties.