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Crews on standby as temps begin to drop in Huntsville

Officials with Huntsville Utilities tell WAAY 31 the kind of weather that’s about to hit the Tennessee Valley can also bring a pretty big hit to their electric system, sometimes causing problems. But crews are fully prepared.

Posted: Dec 29, 2017 6:44 PM
Updated: Dec 30, 2017 12:49 AM

Bitter cold temperatures are expected this weekend, which means people will be turning the heat up, whether they want to or not.

Huntsville Utilities tells WAAY 31 they're on stand-by for any weather-related issues that may occur.

“I’m going to keep my thermostat, you know, change it every now and then. I’ll make sure all the faucets are somewhat dripping, but not too much. And I’m just going to go and get my basic food needs and just stay warm," said Huntsville native, Robyn McNeil. "That’s all I really can do is just try to stay warm."

McNeil says she’s ready for the extreme cold her city is about to receive, but that cold comes with a price.

“People’s bills are going to go up. It’s not because we’ve raised the rate. It’s because it’s very cold outside and you’re just going to use more during this cold time," said Joe Gehrdes with Huntsville Utilities.

Gehrdes says weather like the kind that’s about to hit the Tennessee Valley can also bring a pretty big hit to their electric system, sometimes causing problems. But he says his crews are fully prepared.

“The last time we had cold weather like this, we did have a few demand-related outages, but the crews are experienced with that. We’re accustomed to that. They’ll be ready to respond quickly should anything happen," Gehrdes said.

With that preparation comes extra crews on stand-by for the weekend.

WAAY 31 caught up with some of those crews out working Friday to get a feel for what they go through to keep you warm. And we asked about steps you can take to help power crews out.

“Turn your heat pumps off and wait for us to get the power back on. Wait about 15 or 20 minutes after the power gets back on, and you can turn it back on," said lineman, Colby Lipham. "That way everybody’s not turning it back on at the same time. Because that can cause it to knock back out.”

Officials with Huntsville Utilities say, if you have any problems during the cold snap, you can always give them a call, and they'll respond as quickly as possible. That number is (256) 53-LIGHT.

They also recommend keeping a pencil-tip-thin stream of water flowing from at least one faucet in your home overnight to keep your pipes from freezing during this cold spell.

This especially includes sinks on exterior walls. Also, make sure to keep the cabinets underneath those sinks open.

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