Some power outages have already occurred today, and more are possible tonight as the power grid strains to keep up with the need to keep homes warm.
Not all outages will be directly related to the cold; some trees may come down on lines in the gusty winds today and tonight. Soggy ground means it does not take quite as much wind to push trees over onto lines as it would if the ground were firm and dry.
The following is a news release from Huntsville Utilities:
“Through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) implementation of their Emergency Load Curtailment Program, TVA and Huntsville Utilities are asking customers to reduce their use of electricity as much as possible beginning at 5:00 PM this evening (Wednesday) and until further notice. Voluntary reductions are needed to help ensure the continued supply of power to essential services throughout our electrical system and the entire Tennessee River Valley.
HU is asking all residential and commercial/industrial customers to cooperate in reducing power usage by doing the following: reduce or postpone the use of non-essential electric appliances such as dishwashers, dryers, and cooking equipment; reduce the use of HVAC units by adjusting thermostats; turn off non-essential lighting and other equipment.
While no major problems are anticipated, anytime an electric system endures high demand during frigid cold temperatures, equipment can fail and as always, HU will be ready to respond. In the event of an electric outage, please turn off your heating system. Once service has been restored, wait 10 to 15 minutes before re-starting your heating system. Please do not resume unnecessary usage until power has been completely restored. A slow return to normal usage will assist HU crews in maintaining stability throughout the entire electrical system and reduce the possibility of continued or additional outages.
Huntsville Utilities is a publicly-owned, not-for-profit utility serving 176,000 electric; 91,000 water; and 50,000 natural gas customers in Madison County, Alabama.”