Storm Causes Power Outage

Lauderdale County, Miss. Several hundred customers were without power for a time after intense rain and thundershowers Thursday morning in east Mississippi.

It's a reminder that your household should have a plan for dealing with power outages.

East Mississippi Electric Power Association faced a total of about 600 power outages in the morning scattered throughout Lauderdale County. Most of those came from a tree falling on a power line during the storms.

Julie Boles, communication manager at EMEPA, says that number is relatively small.

"During major storms, sometimes we'll see several thousand. We do serve just under 37,000 meters," Boles said. "And during major storms, Hurricane Katrina, obviously, being the most severe we've ever faced, we had nearly 100 percent outages."

Unless it is one of those severe cases, the team at EMEPA is usually able to get the power back on within a few hours at most.

"Our dispatch center receives the call from our members; it's very important to call and let us know if you lost power," said Boles. "And then they'll dispatch a crew out to investigate the cause. And from there, depending on what the cause is, if there's damage, of course, to repair that, to remove any trees or limbs that may have fallen on a line."

The main reasons for loss of power are usually lightning or trees falling on power lines. You should never panic, but there are precautions to take if the situation is more dangerous.

Boles says if your power goes out, there are certain things you can do to make your time go more smoothly and safely.

Your first step should always be to call the power company to tell them about the outage.

"If you do see downed power lines, then be sure that you let us know," said Boles. "And make sure that you stay away from the power lines because they could still be energized. And warn your neighbors if you see a downed power line, that they're aware, too, not to go in that area."

Fortunately, none of the damage from Thursday's storms was too severe.

Here are the numbers to report outages for different electric companies in our area:

EMEPA 601-581-8600
MISS. POWER 888-680-5890
SPEPA 601-683-2200