Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is monitoring weather forecasts as Tropical Storm Isaias heads north along the eastern seaboard. With the potential impact of heavy rains and high winds facing Southern Maryland on Tuesday, area residents are urged to take steps to prepare for possible tropical storm-related power outages.
According to SMECO spokesperson Tom Dennison, “SMECO is tracking the weather system and personnel are preparing to respond to outages that may result from falling trees and flooding. With the ground already saturated from recent rainfall, and more rain expected this evening and tomorrow from storms approaching from the west, the likelihood that trees will fall on power lines is increased.” Dennison added, “Even though we have smart meters that automatically report outages, members can report an outage by calling 1-877-74-SMECO (1-877-747-6326). They can also go online to our website, www.smeco.coop, or use SMECO’s text messaging service. We recently upgraded the SMECO 24/7 free mobile app with additional features, and we encourage customers to download the app or register for the texting service before bad weather hits.” The public can get more information about the app and text messaging service on SMECO’s website at smeco.coop/SMECO247.
SMECO’s outage restoration policy is to make repairs that will restore service to the most people in the least amount of time. Transmission lines and substations are repaired first, followed by distribution lines that feed neighborhoods. Tap lines and individual service lines are then repaired to restore power to customers who may still be without electricity.
The following is a list of helpful tips for customers.
• If someone in your household depends on electricity to operate life support systems, make plans for alternate sources of power or alternate lodging.
• If you plan to use a portable generator, use extension cords to connect what you want to power directly to the generator. Place your generator outside, not in an attic, crawl space, or basement. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly. Make sure your generator is connected safely; a generator that is not connected safely can cause serious injury or death. When your power comes back on, turn off and disconnect your generator immediately.
• Keep flashlights and fresh batteries on hand. Lanterns and candles are not recommended because they can cause fires.
• Never touch downed power lines or attempt to remove trees from power lines. Contact with live lines may result in serious injury or death. Let qualified SMECO crews handle the clearing and repair work. Please report downed power lines to SMECO immediately by calling 1-888-440-3311.
• Stock nonperishable foods and keep a manual can opener handy. The ideal choices are foods that require no cooking, such as fruit, canned tuna, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, cereal bars, canned soup, and bread.
• Do not stock your refrigerator or freezer with foods that may perish during a power outage.
• If you plan to use a charcoal or gas grill for cooking, keep the grill outdoors.
• If your water at home is supplied by a well, store extra water in clean jugs, bathtubs, or laundry tubs.
• Keep a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries and stay tuned to local news bulletins and weather reports.
• Make sure that you have a standard or mobile phone available. Cordless phones do not work without electricity.
• If you use a mobile phone or tablet, keep a charged power bank handy or use an auto adapter to recharge your mobile device.
• Keep your automobile gas tank above half full.
• Keep fresh batteries in your smoke detectors.
• Open the freezer and refrigerator as little as possible. This will help food stay fresh longer.
• Make sure the oven and stove are off to prevent fires if the power comes back on while you’re away.