Electric co-ops prepare for another round of wintry weather

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)- Utility crews are gearing-up for the potential for widespread power outages from Thursday’s forecast ice storm.Officials with Kentucky Electric Cooperatives say safety should be your top priority.

“If you see a downed power line, absolutely assume it is live, it is energized, it is dangerous. Call 911, call utility. Don’t go anywhere near it,” said spokesperson Joe Arnold.

Arnold says one of the major concerns for the wintry system is the impact freezing rain and ice can have on trees and power lines.

“As little as a quarter inch of ice can cause some outages. A half inch of ice, and in some areas, it looks like that’s what being forecast right now, you’re talking about outages probably for a couple of days. What we had last year in eastern Kentucky was about three-quarters of an inch of ice. That in some areas lead to several weeks of outages,” Arnold said.

That’s why he says now is a good time to prepare.

“Have an emergency preparedness kit. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, but we’re talking about a couple of days worth of bottled water, non-perishable food, emergency blankets, first aid, flashlights, battery-operated radio, batteries, toiletries. Make sure you’re charging your phones on a constant basis right now until that ice comes in,” Arnold said.

KEC has been monitoring the system for several days. Electric crews have been busy fueling up their vehicles and reaching out for help from other utilities.

“Mutual aid will likely become a factor here, especially if ice comes around. So we’re checking each other’s availability, and what crews might be available, what equipment is available,” Arnold said.

Arnold said many cooperatives have phone apps, which he says are the best way to alert crews about power outages.

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