Electric crews fighting snow to get power turned back on

Power crews at work

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - If you could watch TV Friday night, that's more than thousands of people across our region could do. 24 hours after a winter storm blew in, power is still out in many places and could be for some time.

Right now, utility crews are working in tough conditions to get the lights back on.

The lights are off and cold drinks aren't as cold at Green Springs Grocery; those gas pumps, along with employees, are waiting for power. This store has been without since 5 p.m. Thursday.

Surprisingly, even though power was out, people came in. "I've sold a few things that people needed, but I couldn't ring them up. They had to have the right change," said owner Cindy Whited.

Speaking of change, it's slowly on it's way. News 5 tagged along with a crew with AEP as they fixed downed power lines. We learned the biggest challenge now is fighting through the snow just to get to these poles. "The state department isn't going to be here, so we make our own way. Once we get to the job we can fix it, "said Lineman Curtis Elswick.

While the warm weather is good news and it's actually speeding up repairs, line crews are still expecting more problems. "One thing usually happens -- after the sun comes out and snow starts melting all the [tree branches] that went down through the circuit, when they're unweighted they come right back up through the circuit and blow the fuse again," added Elswick.

That's why electric crews are asking homeowners to be patient; crews might have to work on a line more than once.

Taulbee Jessee stopped by to talk with crews and alert them a line was down near his home and the lights were still out. "You make with what you've got. Of course a generator helps out," he said.

And all their hard work is appreciated. "I know one thing: the power company, as far as I'm concerned, is doing a great job trying to get this back on. Being safe, that's the main thing," added Jessee.

Here's something you might not know -- AEP was working ahead of the storm Thursday. They had about 1,500 people across the southeast head to our region to help with power outage repairs.

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