TEPA sending employees down south to help

By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times

Seven employees of the Tombigbee Electric Power Association’s Fulton office have been sent to south Mississippi to help restore power lost in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.

These employees join 14 others from the Lee County office, according to Bill Long, TEPA General Manager. “They are expected to be working for seven to 10 days.”

According to an official statement by Ron Stewart, Senior Vice President of the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi, Hurricane Issac’s arrival Wednesday night left a lot of Mississippi homeowners without power.

“Last night, the tropical storm system continued to deliver wind and rain throughout a large portion of our service area,” Stewart said. “As anticipated, the electric power associations serving more than 355,000 members south of I-20 are reporting 79,500 meters without electric service. The increase is a result of the several days of high winds and rain, beginning in the southern part of Mississippi and now making its way through the central and western areas.”

Restoring power to these areas is expected to be a slow process, mostly due to the foul weather. According to Stewart’s statement, flooding and high winds make working on power lines a dangerous proposition.

“The safety of our members and those working to restore power will not be sacrificed,” Stewart said.” In areas where it’s safe to travel, emergency crews are working to restore service. In other areas, the high wind level prevents line crews from repairing lines and replacing poles.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of our member/customers during this crisis,” his statement continued. “We are encouraging our members to prepare for the posssibility of being without electric service for several days”

Residents of areas with damaged lines and power outages are asked to stay away from power lines at all times. That includes the people of Itawamba County, which is expected to be hit with some nasty weather over the next few days. Any damaged power lines should be reported to the TEPA by calling 862-3146.