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CEO View: December 2017 | Preparing for winter

At TCEC, we don’t like it when disaster strikes and your power goes out. Our approach is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We are ready for the next big storm and I urge all our members to prepare themselves as well. The following winter weather article has some tips you can use.

When their power goes out, people tend to think the worst. Before Mother Nature strikes again, I’d like to remind members of some of the ways TCEC uses to keep your power reliable yet affordable. The two don’t always go hand in hand.
Our utility poles are tested and treated on a 15-year rotation. That means that every year, we have a contract crew go through our territory to test and treat 1/15 of the poles on our system. That equates to about 7,000 poles a year.
We also contract with a professional tree trimming company to maintain our right-of-way. They trim trees to a safe distance from power lines. They rotate in different areas we serve.

We have recently become more stringent on our tree trimming practices to ensure greater reliability and more affordability. Trimming trees to the standard allows for less frequent visits to the same place and ensures less interference with your electric service. 
TCEC has also changed the way we construct our power lines to increase reliability. We are strategically placing ductile iron poles in some places to strengthen the system. They are costly but worthwhile when placed in the right location, such as an intersection.
We also use thicker conductor or wire for power lines than in the past and we place poles closer together. This helps them hold up the extreme weight of ice when it occurs but it’s not foolproof. During the January 2017 ice storm, we estimate lines were weighted with the equivalent of a VW Bug in parts of Beaver County. 
I’d like to reiterate that the system remains fragile as storm repairs will continue for the next four or more years. If you choose to purchase a stationary generator for backup power, you must have it installed by a professional with a transfer switch. For safety reasons, be sure to notify TCEC you’ve installed one. 
We’re hoping for the best this winter, but we are prepared for the worst. Remember, when your power goes out, so do we.   

Published November 30, 2017


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