WCEC Encourages Winter Weather Preparation
Wharton County Electric Cooperative has been keeping an eye on the winter weather forecasts for this weekend and early next week. Forecasters are calling for freezing temperatures and the possibility of high winds throughout our service territory. At this time, there is a chance of ice accumulation. High winds can cause power outages, especially when combined with the smallest amount of ice accumulation on power lines.
When ice accumulates on power lines in strong winds, the ice can build up on only one side of the power line which results in “galloping.” Galloping can potentially damage the lines, cause power outages and even cause cross-arms to break, bringing lines to the ground. When galloping causes the lines to touch, arcing or flashing can occur and power may flicker or go out. Once galloping starts, there isn’t much that can be done until the winds decrease. If you encounter power lines that are swaying or bucking dangerously or downed lines, stay away, warn others to stay away and contact us as soon as possible. These situations can be deadly! The best course of action is to steer clear and call for assistance.
WCEC crews will be on standby as this weather system moves through our area. They will be ready to be dispatched as soon as it is safe to begin any restoration efforts if needed. During an outage, WCEC crews work to restore power to the largest number of people first. After power is restored to the cooperative’s main feeders, our crews then address issues in smaller neighborhoods or at individual homes.
WCEC is asking all members to prepare for the possibility of power outages throughout this weather event. Our Outage Center at MyWCEC.coop offers tips on preparing for outages, outage safety, and our outage restoration process. There is also a live Outage Map.
In addition to keeping up to date with the weather, WCEC is also monitoring ERCOT predictions for the week. Although ERCOT has issued a Weather Watch, it is expecting adequate generation throughout this weather event. At this time, there is no indication that rotating outages will be necessary.
As a reminder to our members, if ERCOT issues an emergency alert calling for rotating outages, we must comply. We will notify our members through social media and our website as quickly as possible. Members of the public can visit ERCOT.com, download the ERCOT app, or sign up for ERCOT alerts at ERCOT.com/TXANS for updates on statewide grid conditions.
WCEC encourages everyone to prepare for frigid temperatures over the next few days.
- Monitor weather conditions for your location.
- Protect the four P’s: people, pets, pipes, and plants.
- Have a plan to safely stay warm without power.
- Have backup power at the ready for any needed medical equipment.
To report an outage, call 979-543-6271. During large outages, phone lines can get busy or wait times may be longer than normal. If necessary, we may implement an automated outage-reporting system. To report an outage through this system, you will need the phone number connected to your account, your account number, or your meter number. Rest assured that if outages occur, crews will be working to restore power as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are unable to get through to the co-op by calling 979-543-6271, updates from WCEC will also be available here:
- WCEC’s Outage Center
- WCEC’s Facebook Page
- Local Radio: KULP FM 106.7 (AM 1390), KIOX FM 96.1, KULM FM 98.3
One final reminder, with extreme temperatures, comes high power use. Your heater will be working overtime to keep your home warm. If you are concerned about high usage and/or the cost of your next bill, we can help. Our SmartHub portal and app allow members to see their daily power use; our website offers ways to save at MyWCEC.coop/Save; and our CSRs are always ready to share tips at 979-543-6271.
Stay safe, stay warm. And know that WCEC will be here if you need us.