VEC customers in Roane lose power

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Outages tended to be short ‘blinks,’ utility officials says

About 4,200 VEC customers, including some in Roane County, lost power early Wednesday morning as another frigid arctic blast hit the region.

The Ten Mile area of Roane County suffered an outage at about 5:49 a.m. due to overheated equipment. That resulted in the loss of power for about 1,000 customers. Crews repaired the damage and restored power at about 7 a.m.

The majority of outages are “blink” outages caused when equipment overheats due to the extremely high demand for electricity. This causes a breaker to stop the flow of electricity.

Some lengthier outages occurred in Polk, Roane, and Fentress counties.

Crews have been working throughout the night to keep power flowing, the utility reported in a news release.

About 1,900 customers in Fentress County were without power Wednesday morning. Crews were on the scene working to restore power as quickly as possible.

About 1,300 customers in Polk County lost power at about 4:48 a.m. due to a downed electric line.

Most of these had their power restored at about 6:15 a.m. and the remaining had their power restored at about 7:17 a.m.

The extremely cold temperatures typically cool the equipment quickly and the breakers automatically restart the flow of electricity. The impact of this is that some customers experience brief but frequent outages.

Earlier this week, VEC issued a news release about how proactive measures such as substation replacements and clearing around utility lines had helped during the Jan. 7 cold spell.

VEC spokesman Robert McCarty said those measures are working.

“The outages we are experiencing now would have been at least 10 times worse without all the system upgrades we’ve been performing,” he said Wednesday. “Today, temperatures have been 5 to 10 degrees colder than forecast across our system, and that has driven demand higher.”

VEC vowed that crews will remain on the job as long as necessary to restore power to every VEC customer.