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CEO December Message - 2023

01 December 2023

Be prepared for winter storms

When winter temperatures drop and storms hit, it can be challenging to stay safe and warm. Winter storm severity varies depending on where you live, but nearly all Americans are affected by extreme winter storms at some point. Hill County Electric (HCE) cares about your safety, and we want you to be prepared. Heavy snow and ice can lead to downed power lines, leaving co-op members without power. During extremely low temperatures, this can be dangerous. During a power outage, our crews will continue to work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power, but there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself.

Stay warm – Plan to use a safe alternate heating source, such as a fireplace or wood-burning stove during a power outage. These are great options to keep you and your loved ones warm, but exercise caution when using, and never leave the heating source unattended. If you are using gasoline-, propane- or natural gas-burning devices to stay warm, never use them indoors. Remember that fuel- and wood-burning sources of heat should always be properly ventilated. Always read the manufacturer’s directions before using.

Stay fed – The survival experts recommend having several days’ supply of food that does not need to be cooked handy. Crackers, cereal, canned goods and bread are good options. Five gallons of water per person should also be available in the event of an extended power outage.

Stay safe – When an outage occurs, it usually means power lines are down. It is best not to travel during winter storms, but if you must, bring a survival kit along, and do not travel alone. If you encounter downed lines, always assume they are live and will harm you. Stay as far away from the downed lines as possible and report the situation to our dispatchers by calling 1-877-394-7804 if possible.

Important Generator Safety Tips:

  • Stationary Generator – An approved generator transfer switch, which keeps your house circuits separate from the electric co-op, should be installed by a professional.
  • Portable Generator – Plug appliances directly into the outlet provided on the generator. Never run a generator in the house.
  • When setting up and running your generator make sure it is in a well-ventilated area outside the home. Make sure it is out and away from your garage, doors, windows, and vents. The carbon monoxide generated is deadly.
  • Use a heavy-duty extension cord to connect electric appliances to the outlet on the generator. There is a lot of current going through the cord, make sure it is sized correctly.
  • Always start the generator before connecting appliances.

If you don’t own a generator, please contact Hill County Electric about a Generac Generator. If you have electrical needs, please contact our Master Electrician, Terry O’Leary about your residential or business needs by calling 406-394-2832. Learn more.