Thousands lose power in Jefferson, Hamblen counties during freezing temps

# # weather

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) - During this bitter cold weather, about 14,000 residents in Jefferson and Hamblen counties were without power Monday morning. The area saw temperatures in the low teens at the time. The utility company, Appalachian Electric Cooperative, was able to turn it back on after roughly an hour.

"I was scared my pipes was gunna bust for number one, and where I was going to go if it didn't come back on?"
said Shelia Willis, a homeowner in Dandrige.

Willis was concerned because her house runs on well water. Thankfully, her power is back on but she still sat next to the fire as her house slowly warmed back up.

"It's still scary that it might happen again if people are using more,"
she said.

Appalachian Electric Company tried to calm those concerns. Greg Williams, the general manager, explained this outage was unusual. Williams said it happened because too many people were using electricity at the same time.

"As the temperatures go down, our load climbs dramatically, and this morning it was doing that very rapidly,"
he said.

Williams said they are working hard to make sure this does not happen again. He wanted to assure customers there is no need to worry. He also said customers do not need to conserve their power.

"We have made some adjustments to these protective devices to make sure we protect the equipment but we don't want it to trip breakers,"
he said.

Willis said she will try to be prepared if it happens again. She wants to look into getting an alternative heat source.

The Jefferson County Rescue Squad gave some suggestions on what to have on hand if your power goes out during the winter. They said to have extra blankets, food and water. They also suggested to go into one room and shut the door to conserve the heat.