From time to time, severe weather could affect our area. So while the weather is mild, it’s good to take a few steps ahead of time to be prepared in case potential severe weather causes outages for an extended period of time. Before severe weather strikes consider these helpful tips:
Have a battery-operated portable radio, TV, or NOAA Weather Radio on hand to monitor official weather forecasts and to stay tuned into other important information for our area. Also, keep your cell phone and other devices you may need fully charged with chargers readily available.
If you have a piece of life-sustaining medical equipment in your home or have special needs, have a back-up plan in place in the event of a utility outage. In many cases, we may not be able to give an estimated time for when power will be restored, so plan ahead. Being prepared in the case of a power outage is the best way to prevent a medical emergency from happening.
Assemble an emergency supply kit of basic items your household may need during outages. Here are just a few items you may want to consider:
A supply of drinking water, non-perishable food items that require no cooking and manual can openers.
First aid supplies and any medications you or your family needs.
Flashlights and a supply of extra batteries.
Specialty items such as baby food, additional warm clothing and a safe heat source.
Agencies like American Red Cross and FEMA list other recommended items you may want to consider for your kit.
If you have an emergency heating or power source, learn how to use it properly. Never use your gas oven, range or outdoor grill to heat your home. Doing so can cause deadly levels of carbon monoxide buildup in your home. Learn more about Generator Safety.
Continue to monitor the media for important information. Also, you can visit our Outage Center web page and social media sites via battery-operated web devices for power restoration updates.
If you experience a power outage, please alert us by calling 731-422-7500.
Did you know animals are one of the top causes of electric outages? In fact, small animals can climb onto or inside certain pieces of equipment causing it to shut down, thus interrupting the flow of power to customers.
Weather- Wind, Lightning, and Ice
During storms, high winds and lightning are common causes of outages. High winds may cause power lines to touch. Lightning may strike electrical equipment or nearby objects causing them to fall onto lines or poles. Freezing rain or sleet can create a buildup of ice on power lines and trees eventually causing lines to break.
Trees and tree limbs are a major cause of outages in all weather conditions. Whether it’s windy, stormy, icy or sunny outside, tree limbs can fall on power lines and poles. Because of this, Jackson Energy Authority takes proactive steps throughout the year to trim trees that threaten our power lines. This helps reduce outages and helps restoration efforts in the event of a storm.
Vehicles and Construction
Vehicle accidents involving utility poles may cause an outage. Poles may be damaged, causing power lines to break or touch. Also, accidental contact with underground or overhead power lines at construction sites can cause power outages. Remember to call 811 so that all underground utility lines can be located before you plan to dig. From simple landscaping projects like planting trees or shrubs, to building a deck or installing a mailbox, place a call to Tennessee 811 before every digging project.
If your power goes out and you are using a portable generator, please make sure to follow these important safety tips:
NEVER plug into an electrical outlet in your home or garage. It can “back feed” power into power lines and cause harm or death to our crews. Connect directly to your appliances or equipment.
NEVER operate indoors or in an unventilated area as the exhaust contains deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
DO NOT connect to a neighboring home or business with an extension cord. This can cause power back feed as well.
To add fuel, turn the generator off and let it cool down. Never add fuel when the generator is running, gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could cause a fire.
To avoid electrical shocks, make sure the generator is properly grounded according to manufacturer’s instructions and use only approved, appropriate sized power cords.
Always follow the safety instructions in the manufacturer's instruction manual.
Always follow local, state, and national fire and electric codes. A permit may be required for installation.
Always use a heavy-duty (at least 12 gauge) UL-listed extension cord (less than 100 feet long) from the generator to your appliances - being careful not to overload the cord.
Always make sure that the total electric load on your generator does not exceed the manufacturer's rating.
Do not store gasoline for a generator indoors. Gasoline should be stored in an approved, non-glass safety container. Extinguish all flames or cigarettes when handling gasoline or the generator. Always have a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher located near the generator. Make sure you have enough fuel to run a generator for an extended period of time - during a power outage, gas stations may be closed.
Parts of the generator are very hot during operation. Avoid contact - especially with the muffler area. Keep children away at all times.
Protect the generator from rain and other moisture sources to prevent electrocution.
When not in use, store the generator in a dry location such as a garage or shed.
Safety for our crews and customers is our highest concern, so please use caution when using portable generators.
Local Emergency Agencies
For your convenience, we have listed a few local emergency numbers. For a complete list, please check the local phone directory.
In An Emergency (Fire, Police, and Ambulance)
Police (Jackson, TN)
Sheriff (Madison Co)
Jackson Energy Authority
Tennessee One-Call System, Inc
Call Before You Dig
Dial 811 or 1-800-351-1111
Steps to restoring power following a major outage
Powerful storms often pass through our area, leaving damage to our utility services. In many instances, we can diagnose and often repair problems with minimal impact on our customers. Unfortunately, there are those storms that create major system wide damage, leaving customers without power for an extended period of time. Restoring power after a major storm is a complex process that can affect each customer differently.
When our system is damaged by a major storm, before any restoration begins our top priority is safety. Our employees assess the situation to make sure there are no life-threatening conditions such as live downed lines.
In the event of a widespread outage, JEA’s outage restoration plan is put into place immediately. The steps in this plan are designed to restore power as safe as possible to the greatest number of customers in the shortest amount of time. In general, restoration begins at the power source and ends at your house.
Transmission Lines & Substations. Transmission lines and substations (the backbone of the electric system) supply power to distribution lines. Because thousands of customers could be served by one line or substation, the restoration begins here.
Critical System Loads. These include communications systems, water and wastewater pump stations, hospitals, fire, police and other services vital to public welfare.
Main Distribution Lines. From the substations, the power is supplied through feeder distribution lines. These carry power away from substations to groups of customers such as subdivisions, housing areas and commercial areas. We work our way across the system, first repairing problems serving larger groups of customers then to smaller groups.
Secondary Distribution Lines. The final supply line, called tap lines, carry power to the utility poles or underground transformers outside individual houses or buildings. Homeowners: Please review the Weatherhead image below to learn where you need to check for damage at the service drop.
When our system is damaged by a major storm, before any restoration begins our top priority is safety. Our crews and spotters assess all situations to make sure there are no life-threatening conditions such as live downed lines. If you see drooping or downed lines, do not touch the lines or anything that’s in contact with the lines such as limbs. Stay away from the area and call 422-7500 to report the downed lines.
Safety tips in the event of a downed power line:
If you see a downed power line, keep all other people away and inform JEA right away at 422-7500. Assume that any downed line is a power line and is potentially dangerous.
DO NOT under any circumstances touch any type of downed line, even if it is not moving, humming or sparking. Always assume that any power line is live and dangerous.
Never approach a downed line. The ground around a live power line may be electrified as well, and is dangerous.
DO NOT touch anything that is in contact with a downed power line, such as cars, debris or fallen tree branches. Anything touching a power line is just as dangerous as the power line itself.
In the event a power line falls on your car, stay inside and wait for help. If you have a cell phone, use it to call for assistance. If you must leave the vehicle because it is on fire, or in danger of catching on fire, open the door and without touching the outside of the car, try to jump away while keeping your feet together. Once you have landed, shuffle away from your car. Running or walking can arc electricity through your legs and injure you.
Always assume that any line down is live and dangerous. DO NOT, under any circumstances, touch any type of downed line, even if it is not moving, humming, hissing or sparking. Stay away as the ground around a live line could be electrified as well. Report downed lines by calling JEA at 422-7500.