Winter Storm Preparedness

By Garrett Hylton

Snow and ice caused problems for power lines and equipment during the January 2019 ice storm. Photo by Don McDonald

Wells Rural Electric Company’s (WREC’s) core function is providing members with safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible electricity.

Maintaining 1,400 miles of energized line stretching through 10,000 square miles of service territory is a big task, but one the cooperative’s operations personnel take pride in.

WREC’s line crews execute a year-round work plan geared toward patrolling, maintaining, and upgrading equipment to improve reliability and quality of service and avoid outages before they happen.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid outages altogether. The least convenient times to be without power, such as during extreme weather, are often the most common times for something to go wrong.

Despite WREC’s best efforts, high winds, snow, ice, and lightning can all wreak havoc on equipment and cause power outages.

Even with crews working around the clock, winter weather conditions can make repairs difficult, time-consuming, and dangerous. Because of this, WREC wants members to be prepared in the case of a winter outage.

Always Report Outages

If your power goes out, never assume someone else has reported it. Please call WREC’s Outage Dispatch Center at (800) 566-6696.

Winter weather can create multiple issues that need to be addressed. The more information WREC line crews have, the better they can identify and respond to an outage. WREC’s line crews communicate directly with the Outage Dispatch Center, so that number is also the most current source of information.

While WREC employees try to provide updates by social media or phone whenever possible, the cooperative’s social media is not monitored 24/7 and is not a reliable way to report an outage. Please remember that a lack of updates never means a lack of work. Particularly during nighttime or weekend outages, updates can be spread out as crews focus on restoring power as safely and quickly as possible.

Make a Preparedness Plan

While there is never a convenient time to be without power, it does help to have a plan for when extreme weather causes an outage. To help members get started, WREC has included a winter storm preparedness checklist.

No utility can guarantee 24/7 service uninterrupted, so consider a backup generator for anything that requires constant power.

Winter Preparedness Checklist

Our mission is to provide members with reliable service day and night, but severe weather can cause a power outage lasting
for hours or days. Snow, ice, high winds, and lightning can seriously damage electrical equipment. Here is a list of suggestions that can help you during an outage.

Home Checklist

Key Items to Help You Weather the Storm

  • Battery-powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Extra winter clothing
  • Extra blankets
  • Basic toiletries
  • Extra cash
  • Waterproof matches
  • Rock salt/sand

Power Outage Tips

Don’t be in doubt when the power goes out.

  • Check your electrical panel. Try to reset the breakers.
  • Call Wells Rural Electric Company to report an outage.
  • Unplug any voltage-sensitive equipment.
  • Install surge protectors.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Food in a refrigerator will last 12 to 24 hours if the doors are closed.
  • Switch on an outside light. This may help our crews determine if your power has been restored.
  • Listen to radio reports for updates.

Never wire a portable generator directly into your electrical panel/outlets

Get Connected

  • Update your contact information
  • Follow WREC on Facebook at @WellsRuralElectric