Manager’s Message – September 2022

Posted: September 7, 2022 at 2:54 pm

It’s September and summer is winding down, but as I write this article, we’re in the midst of the dog days of summer and are experiencing late afternoon/early evening storms that really pack a punch. To be honest, the end of July and beginning of August were brutal.

Our outage numbers were some of the highest we have recorded in years and it’s all thanks to the weather. While our service area as a whole had scattered outages as a result of these daily weather events, Warren County appeared to catch the brunt. The majority of these late day storms brought heavy rainfall, bursts of wind, and staggering numbers of lightning strikes; the combination of which results in long nights for our line crew. Our own Macon office suffered damage from a lightning hit, which took out computers, credit card machines and the telephones. Many of you may have noticed that office was closed for a time while repairs were made and we waited for new equipment.

We all know that summer storms can lead to power outages and the best we can do is try to reduce the potential problem
areas. Halifax EMC prides itself in its right-of-way maintenance program and has seen a vast improvement in the reduction
of outages caused by tree limbs throughout the years. Our right-of-way contractors clear trees up to the designated right-of-way and clear dead danger trees as needed that could potentially hit the power line. However, the saturated ground created by drenching downpours leaves live trees vulnerable. A tree’s root system can lose grounding in soggy soil and the tree tops may even become top heavy. Add in wind gusts and those trees, well outside of the right-of-way, fall on the power lines.

The timing of these late-day storms slowed restoration efforts as well. While Halifax EMC is on call 24 hours a day, outages after normal working hours require a two-man crew to be dispatched. Once dispatched to the area, the line crew must assess the area to determine the source of the outage and if assistance will be needed to make repairs. Assessment times are often longer at night because crews must drive the area in darkness, using only the lights from their vehicle, or in some cases may even have to patrol lines on foot, to identify the culprit.

During outages that affect a large number of members, we strive to keep you updated on Facebook, if possible. If you use this form of social media, please follow us. We often share pictures which hopefully offer a better understanding of why the lights are out and the damage that crews are facing in their repair efforts.

Your patience is greatly appreciated as we weathered these recent storms and we could use your help in making sure our
outage response times are even quicker. If you have an outage, don’t just assume your neighbor or someone else in your area has reported it. Call 1-800-690-0522 to report an outage at your residence. Make sure we have your up-to-date contact information. If we don’t have your current telephone number (home and cell) in our system, which is linked with your physical address, it may take longer to properly identify the outage location.

Whether facing summer storms or everyday obstacles, know that Halifax EMC is here for you. We strive to provide reliable service to each of our members but rest assured when the lights do go out, we want to get them restored for you as quickly and safely as possible.