EPB crews work in rain, 1,400 utility workers now in Chattanooga

Chattanooga, TN (April 19, 2020; 5:00 p.m.) – EPB added 300 more utility workers to its restoration and reconstruction efforts on Sunday.  There are now 1,400 people helping the Chattanooga area with tornado recovery.  The Hamilton Place Mall parking lot is serving as the EPB Command Center for the work being done in the eastern part of Hamilton County.  Crews are continuing to rebuild a large portion of Chattanooga’s electric and internet infrastructure which took a catastrophic hit during the storms one week ago today.

Chattanooga Police continue to conduct road blocks in the hardest hit areas so crews can do their work. 

“We appreciate the public’s understanding and patience, and urge people to please not go to damaged areas unless they live or work there,” said Wendell Boring, EPB Assistant VP of Field Operations.  “EPB wants to thank Chattanooga Police and Chattanooga Public Works for all their help in this process.”

CPD is posting all information to their social media pages and sharing with TV, radio and newspapers as well.  Today’s rain is not stopping the work – EPB crews are still on the job in full force.

Current restoration and outage numbers (updated as of Sunday, April 19, 5 p.m.)

Electric service has been restored to about 56,000 customers with about 4,000 who continue to experience an outage.  On occasion, in some areas where power has been restored, customers may experience another temporary outage while work is being done to the equipment, which has to be de-energized at times for our crews’ safety.

For your safety, avoid construction zones and maintain social distance

While EPB and all of the utility workers who have joined the restoration are glad many people are appreciative, they ask that people maintain a social distance of six feet. “We’re having folks who want to give us a high five or bring us something to eat or drink,” said Boring. “As much as we appreciate that, for your safety and ours, please stay well away from the re-construction zones and help us follow the guidelines for health and safety.”

Current damage assessment

EPB has re-energized three substations that were taken off-line by the storm, re-constructed scores of poles, and replaced many miles of new power lines. Unfortunately, some of the heaviest work continues to restore EPB customers who remain without power. EPB is still working to re-construct at least 400 more utility poles and replace more than 50 miles of new power lines that will need to be strung over about 13 miles of infrastructure. 

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.

Questions about the myEPB App

EPB is receiving reports that the myEPB app may show that power is restored when it is not. Most of these issues arise from catastrophic damage to the fiber optic lines and equipment the app relies on to provide individualized information about the power status at your home. In addition, there may be multiple points of repair that need to be done between the power source and a customer’s home. In some cases, these problems will cause a false restoration reading when one layer of repair is completed but others are still necessary. If customers are experiencing this issue, please use the “Report an Outage” feature in the myEPB app to notify us of the need to identify the additional repairs necessary to restore your home. EPB has also created an FAQ for how to resolve some other issues customers report.

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.

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