HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Utilities crews continue to restore service in scattered areas around Huntsville and Madison County.
10:20 a.m. Update: As the daylight hours reduce some of the high demand put on the electric system by extremely cold temperatures overnight, crews are making significant progress and will continue working until all power is restored. That, according to Huntsville Utilities spokesperson Joe Gehrdes.
Earlier this morning, there was a large outage in southeast Huntsville, affecting the area near Challenger Elementary and Middle Schools, including the schools. The two schools have power now.
A portion of the campus lost power shortly after 8 a.m. and the 38 students who arrived early, and staff, were evacuated for a short time to the middle school. Power was restored quickly, but the office staff in the elementary school smelled smoke. The Huntsville Fire Department checked out the office and determined it was the heater coming back on.
Farley Elementary was also affected by the outage, but power was quickly restored, according to Huntsville City Schools spokesperson Keith Ward.
Other parts of south Huntsville were affected, including areas south of Hobbs Road around Green Cove and Chaney Thompson Roads. Crews are working to get to each area as quickly as possible to restore power, as well as other scattered outages throughout Madison County.
What’s causing the outages? The electric system is experiencing extremely high demand due to very cold temperatures, and the demand stress is causing some outages. Temperatures have climbed a bit this morning, but only into the teens. The wind chills are in the single digits in some parts of the Tennessee Valley. People are heating their homes, causing huge demand on the system.
When your power is restored, HU asks you to please wait about 15 minutes before starting your heating system. This wait will help HU crews maintain stability throughout the entire system and prevent more power outages. If you have an outage or a service emergency, please call 256-53LIGHT (4448) for immediate assistance.
Tuesday morning, Athens Utilities also dealt with a large outage in the Clements area, affecting about 4,000 customers, and other scattered outages. Read more on the situation. As a result of the outages, Limestone County Schools made the decision to close for the day.