Chattanooga, Tenn., public power utility EPB on April 22 confirmed that it has completed the reconstruction of the utility poles, electric lines, and power system equipment that sustained catastrophic damage when tornados and severe weather that ripped through Chattanooga last Sunday causing power outages for about 60,000 customers.
“We’ve re-energized all of the power lines necessary to complete the restoration and the smart grid is operating within normal parameters at the system level, but we haven’t yet replaced the smart grid equipment in many areas, so there may be some house-to-house outages that aren’t apparent to us.” said Scottie Summerlin, EPB public relations coordinator.
As part of the restoration efforts, the utility brought in additional line crews from other utilities through mutual aid agreements.
EPB also took several steps are being taken to minimize the threat of COVID-19 exposure during the restoration work including providing mutual aid crews with gloves and masks.
EPB continues effort to restore fiber optic services
Summerlin also highlighted EPB’s continuing effort to restore fiber optic services. “We know connectivity is a top priority especially now,” Summerlin said. “The re-construction effort is a layering process. Electric crews must replace utility poles and restore electricity before fiber optic repairs can be made. We’ve had fiber crews coming in as soon as electric crews complete their work.”
EPB noted that it has engaged hundreds of additional fiber installers in the effort to repair internet and other fiber optic services as quickly as possible. Their current focus is re-splicing the main feeder fiber cables which will restore service to thousands of additional customers over the next two days.
Once this is done, EPB will work on repairing the smaller distribution fiber lines to bring remaining customers back on-line.
EPB expects to restore fiber optic services to most customers by Friday, but restoration efforts will likely extend through the weekend.