Power Companies Work to Prevent Outages

Knox County (WVLT) - These hot, steamy temperatures may push you to crank up you air conditioner. But your effort to keep cool has stressed out power supplies.

So far, TVA has set new power records three days in a row this week. And Thursday could be number four. Thankfully, TVA hasn't had power problems. But the smaller utilities that actually supply your power, are feeling the heat, from the heat.

Time for Sadie's haircut. And it's a good thing the golden-haired girl didn't climb on the table yesterday.

"It was a little startling because we need our power."

Around 4:30pm on Thursday....dog groomer Ruth Carter and her K-9 clients spent some time in the dark.

"I couldn't have done anything as far as scissoring or I couldn't see very well," Carter says.

Between 15 and 20 thousand Lenior City Utility Board customers lost power. The second power outage in three days.

"We keep it pretty cold because we're busy grooming and we get hot. So we run the air conditioner pretty cool. So we probably contributed to the problem yesterday," Carter says.

Probably...temperatures have felt like 100 degrees. And, like Ruth, many of you have cranked up the AC. So the heat's cooking in...and...on power lines.

"It's reaked some havoc," Fred Nelson says.

More heat. More customers. And flat-out-more demand. It's now a triple threat for these power substations.

"We're about the fastest growing utility in the Tennessee Valley," Nelson says.

Crews have inspected four of LCUB's power substations all day...checking just how stressed the lines are.

"If it gets really bad, starts kicking out, then we'll start trying to transfer power," Nelson continues.

Now fans hang on the transformers. Water runs over them. Anything to keep them cool...so you can be too.

"It's got a temperature gauge on it and when it reaches a certain temperature it automatically trips, which is the way the equipment's supposed to work," Nelson says.

Heat's stressed, but hasn't knocked out any power at region's other major power supplier.

"Based on the design of our system, and the size of our equipment. We also have preventative maintenance program," Jennifer Fern says.

Carter's found her own preventative maintenance...turning down the AC.

"I was much better today. I actually let myself get a little hot," Carter says.

So Saide's haircut wasn't in the dark.

LCUB says the absolute worst thing you can do after a power outage is crank your AC. That could cause another outage. LCUB plans to build for new sub powerstations to handle all their demand. The first one should be working by next spring. LCUB won't know till Friday if they've seen any records this week. But KUB reached a new all-time power demand on Wednesday.

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