Chattanooga, TN (April 20, 2020; 4:30 p.m.–Corrected) – Electric services have now been restored to about 57,600 EPB customers who lost power when tornados and severe weather ripped across the Chattanooga area last Sunday. About 2,400 customers impacted by the original storm system remain without power and about 400 homes are too damaged for restoration until home repair or reconstruction takes place.
Working through the weekend, EPB constructed hundreds of new utility poles and re-strung about 56 miles of new power lines about 15 miles. EPB is in the final stages energizing these newly constructed line segments which is a major step toward restoring most of the customers who remain without power.
“We’re aiming to complete the power restoration from the tornado damage by Tuesday if all goes well,” said David Wade, EPB President & CEO. “We still have quite a bit of work to do to complete repairs on smaller distribution lines.”
He noted that EPB’s efforts were hampered when overnight storms and high winds caused new outages for about 500 customers in Soddy Daisy, Middle Valley, and Big Ridge. Repairs have been completed for these new outages.
In addition, EPB’s continuing damage assessments have identified more than 300 homes and businesses that have sustained such severe damage that they will have to be repaired or re-built before electric service can be restored. “Unfortunately, we expect that number to grow as we continue to assess damage to electric facilities at individual homes,” Wade said.
Repair of Fiber Optic Services
As of Monday, April 20, 5 p.m., about 6,000 EPB Fiber Optics customers are experiencing an outage in services. Many of these customers are also experiencing an electric outage. Unfortunately, fiber optic services are not always restored at the same time as electric services. When fiber lines and equipment are damaged, they have to be repaired after utility poles have been re-constructed and electric lines and equipment have been replaced.
In the parts of the community that experienced less catastrophic damage, EPB Fiber Optics is typically able to restore internet and other services within a day or two of the return of electric power, but in the more heavily damaged areas, repairing fiber optics services may take up to four to five days after electric service is restored.
Road Closure Information
As restoration continues please be on the lookout for periodic road closures. These closures are announced by Chattanooga Police Department on Facebook, Twitter, and other news media outlets. Follow the Chattanooga Police Department for up to date information. #roadclosures #CHAPD #PowerRestore
Generator Safety Tips
As EPB continues the effort, the utility urges people to avoid danger and injury when using a generator. If you’re using the type of generator that must be installed, be sure to hire a qualified electrician and make sure they install a transfer switch. This will prevent feedback loops which are dangerous for linemen and could cause damage to the electric system delaying restoration. Also, please remember to never run a generator indoors or in a garage. Learn more at safeelectricity.org.
EPB Quick Connect WiFi available to public
For people who need internet access, EPB has installed free EPB Quick Connect WiFi hotspots at 25 locations around the county. Those locations can be found at epbquickconnect.com.
Need EPB Customer Support?
Customers with questions are encouraged to go to EPB.com for the latest information including an outage map. Customer service representatives are also available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 423-648-1372.