Local storm crews play waiting game

Published 3:30 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

As of Friday night, it appeared that Tropical Storm Nate – likely to become Hurricane Nate – will not cause many power outages in Covington County, but local crews are prepared to respond if the need arises.

Jeff Puckett, who heads Andalusia Utilities’ electric division, said his crews spent Friday making sure their chainsaws were sharpened in ready, and that they had supplies on hand that might be needed in the event of storm damage.

“Basically, this is a waiting game,” he said.

If either Andalusia or Covington Electric Cooperative is hard hit by Tropical Storm Nate, each has power restoration assistance lined up.

“We do not expect widespread outages at this time; however, that could change depending on how much the storm strengthens and where it makes landfall,” said Kim Carter, CEC vice president of finance and member services. “We want to remind people to always stay away from downed or sagging power lines. All downed power lines should be treated as if they were energized and potentially deadly. People seeing a downed line should stay away from it and report it to the local electric utility or 911,” she added.

Puckett reminded customers that, in the event of outages, crews will have to wait for winds to die down before responding.

“When the wind dies down to a certain speed, we have a priority list we start on,” he said.

Andalusia customers may report outages by calling 222-1332,

CEC members can report outages by calling 1-800-239-1193, or they can use the free app “CEC Connect” that can be downloaded and utilized on any smart device. In the event of power outages, CEC members can monitor outages in real-time using the Outage Viewer available on the CEC website at www.covington.coop and on the “CEC Connect” app.