Alabama power preps for Dennis

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 8, 2005

Alabama Power employees are getting ready for Hurricane Dennis, moving equipment and personnel into position so they can best respond in the event of outages.

Customers are also urged to make preparations for Hurricane Dennis, which &045; should it maintain its current track &045; has the potential to cause major damage and outages.

Because of the likelihood of heavy rains and the possibility of localized flooding in connection with Hurricane Dennis, Alabama Power has begun lowering reservoirs on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Black Warrior rivers.

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The reservoirs affected by the lowering are: Harris Lake (Lake Wedowee), Lake Martin, Weiss Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Lake Logan Martin, Lay Lake, Lake Mitchell, Lake Jordan, Smith Lake and Bankhead Lake. These lakes could also be affected by rising water after the hurricane strikes, along with Holt Lake, Yates Reservoir and Lake Thurlow.

People should be alert to these changing water levels and take appropriate action to protect their property. For updated lake information, call the automated Reservoir Information Line at 1-800-LAKES11 and select &8220;special operations.&8221;

Should Hurricane Dennis strike our region, Alabama Power will be devoting all its resources toward restoring power as quickly as possible. However, customers should be making preparations in case they experience outages: Here are some important tips for customers to consider before, during and after the storm:

Alabama Power gives priority to hospitals, water and sewer treatment facilities, police, fire and other critical customers for the overall safety and well-being of the community at large. Individuals with critical medical needs should consider making contingency plans in case of outages.

Stay away from downed lines. Warn others to do the same. Beware of lines that are touching a vehicle. Stay away from the vehicle and the line. Do not drive over power lines lying on the road, and do not drive under low hanging lines. Keep children and pets away from downed lines.  Always assume a downed power line is live.  Do not attempt to remove tree limbs or anything else caught in power lines. Call Alabama Power at 800-245-2244 or a local law enforcement agency if downed lines are spotted.

Do not connect portable generators to your household electrical wiring.  This can cause serious injury to you and to Alabama Power employees working on the lines in your neighborhood.  Connect only essential appliances &045; such as freezers and refrigerators &045; directly to the generator.

If your power is off, make sure you turn off your appliances to avoid any potential safety hazards when the power is restored.

Keep freezer doors closed and sealed. Well-filled freezers keep most foods frozen for two to three days if the door is kept closed.

Charge cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices before the

storm hits.

Alabama Power crews will work as fast as safety allows. Before neighborhood lines can be repaired, crews must first repair larger lines that bring power to the neighborhoods.

Customers who experience power outages can call the company’s Automated Outage Reporting System at 1-800-888-APCO (2726). It is the fastest way to report an outage.

Staff reports