Power crews on standby ahead of strong storms

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 9:11 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - More than 100,000 people in Middle Tennessee lost power earlier this month during the last windstorm. Power companies are expecting the lights to go out again Friday night if winds top 60 miles per hour.

As of 11 p.m., about 4,500 customers are without power.

Those strong winds in early March took down trees and power poles across the region. Nashville Electric Service and Middle Tennessee Electric have power crews on standby to get the power back on as soon as possible if that happens again this weekend.

How to prepare, stay safe in a power outage

“There will be crews in our offices really all night waiting to be dispatched,” MTE spokesperson Larry Rose said. “We’ve also called and made arrangements if necessary to bring in additional crews, so they are also on standby. We feel like we are pretty well prepared and sort of had a taste of it from the wind event that was early in the month.”

Rose said one of the biggest challenges for crews can be getting to where the lines are down or where a transformer blew because of tree branches blocking roads. MTE has a command center set up with smart circuits constantly monitoring the power grid. If there is an outage, computer systems can reroute electricity around the downed wires to get many people back online within seconds while a handful of homes wait for repairs are being made.

“Weather can often throw us a curve,” Rose said. “We’ll be on duty all night, and we’ll have crews ready to roll if we need to.”

To help power crews with that recovery effort, Rose said you should bring in trash cans, potted plants and other outside furniture so it doesn’t get blown away and into power lines.

First Alert Forecast: Strong, severe storms tonight

Crews also spent much of Friday out driving in areas that had outages during the last storm, Rose said. They were looking for any lines that might have trees hanging over them or other damage that was only temporarily repaired to fix issues before they become another outage with this storm.

Electric company officials said it’s important to charge your cell phones and other mobile devices before the storm, prepare your home emergency kit and save the contact information to report an outage to your power company.

If your power does go out, Rose said it’s often safest to stay inside because power lines may have been taken down near your house that would be difficult to see at night. If you do have a downed power wire, assume it is live and immediately call 911.

A NES spokesperson said its customers should report an outage by calling 615-736-6900, texting “OUT” to 637797, logging into NESPower.com or reporting it directly on our outage map at nespower.com/outages.