Hurricane Power Preparations

Already, crews are in the area in full force!

"We have over 3,000 personnel headed this way to help us restore service," says Cindy Webb with Mississippi Power.

That's statewide, as for in East Mississippi......

"All of the Southern Company works together and we all have to prepare and hopefully Alabama will be spared some this time. If they are they can come over to Mississippi and help us restore service," says Webb.

"We'll have everyone of our crews on duty, all of our crews area on standby right now," says Mike Rietch with the East Mississippi Power Association. "We arranged for at least 40 other crews to come in addition to two. So, we have about 42 extra crews here with equipment."

Covering 35,000 customers in Clarke, Lauderdale, Kemper and Winston Counties, East Mississippi Power officials are advising residents to prepare for the long haul.

"We want our members to prepare for a very long outage. This one could go six days very easily," says Rietch.

About a year ago when Hurricane Ivan hit the area it hit East Mississippi Power as well, causing the company to lose one of it's trucks. Because of this, EMEPA officails say they will not send crews out this time in the midst of the storm but instead only after it is definitely safe enough for crews to work.

Speaking of safety, electric power officials are reminding customers not only to stay away from downed power lines but also to always plug appliances directly into portable electric generators.

"If you plug into your home's wiring system it could feed back into our line. It could fatally injure our linemen while they're out there working because they wouldn't know that the electricity was coming back."

In the event of any power outages, customers can report those to these numbers: for Mississippi Power you can call 1-800-IT'S DARK! As for Alabama Power that number is 1-800-245-2244. If you live in outlying areas the numbers to report outages to the East Mississippi Power Association are (601) 581-8600 or (601) 483-7361. The number to call for Black Warrior Electric customers in West Alabama is 1-800-242-2580.