By Jesse Wood
In the Rominger/Laurel Creek area of Western Watauga, the snow has accumulated to nearly 10 inches as of 8 p.m, yet not nearly as many Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation customers that reside in that area are out of power as in Ashe County, where more than 25 percent of BREMCO customers have lost power.
That’s more than 5,300 customers in Ashe County without power right now.
Via Facebook, BREMCO released a statement around 7:30 p.m.: “Linemen are responding to outages in Ashe County due to snow and sleet and a possible tree on a power line … but weather reports call for severe weather to continue throughout the evening.”
Of the more than 73,000 BREMCO members in Ashe, Avery, Alleghany, Alexander, Caldwell, Wilkes and Watauga, more than 10 percent – or more than 8,000 – are out of power as of 8 p.m. 20 percent of Alleghany customers are without power.
At 7 p.m., only 2,000 BREMCO customers were without power. That number increased quickly.
To see up to the minute outages, click to http://bremco.maps.sienatech.com.
That is, if you have power to run your computer. The lights, here in my home in the Laurel Creek area, are flickering as I type.
BREMCO On High Alert, Tips To Prepare for Outages
BREMCO Press Release:
Employees of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation are on high alert and monitoring severe winter weather predicted to bring snow and high winds to the cooperative’s service in the mountains and foothills of northwest North Carolina.
Blue Ridge Electric has one of the best reliability and response ratings in the nation due to system upgrades and vegetation maintenance but severe weather can sometimes cause outages. The fastest, most efficient way to report an outage is by calling the cooperative’sPowerLine at 1-800-448-2383. Cooperative employees are on standby, ready to respond in full force at any time of the day or night should outages occur.
Blue Ridge Electric offers the following safety and preparation tips to help members stay comfortable and safe if outages should occur. Have the following supplies on hand, preferably in a central location that each member of the household can locate quickly if needed:
• Flashlights and fresh batteries
• Matches with firewood and kindling or
• A grill with extra propane charcoal and lighter fluid
• Radio with fresh batteries to listen to weather and news reports
• Extra blankets, sleeping bags, quilts
• Oil lamps and extra oil
• Wind-up or battery operated clock
• Non-perishable food
• Manual can opener
• Paper plates and plastic utensils
• Bottled water or gallon jugs filled with water for drinking and cooking
• Formula and extra diapers for babies
• Thermos for keeping drinks and baby formula warm
• Emergency numbers such as Blue Ridge Electric’s PowerLine, local emergency management, police and hospital contacts.
Additionally, if you require a regular medication, be sure to keep extra supplies on hand. If you or a family member requires oxygen, it’s a good idea to have a back-up power source and a personal emergency plan that includes family, friends or local emergency management sources to assist you if needed.
As a safety reminder, Blue Ridge Electric reminds the public that downed power lines can still be energized and therefore dangerous or even deadly! Stay far away from downed power lines–no one except a trained line technician should ever handle a downed power line. If you see a downed line, please report the location immediately to Blue Ridge Electric by calling any local district office or 1-800-451-5474.
For checking outage status, Blue Ridge Electric provides an online outage map on their website atwww.BlueRidgeEMC.com. The cooperative also provides information during widespread outages its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueridgeemc and Twitter page at www.twitter.com/blueridgeemc.
Blue Ridge Electric serves some 74,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Avery and Alexander counties.