Winter storms slow life for some, others work 16 hour days for public safety

FPU crews worked in icy conditions to get power restored. At one point, 1,600 FPU customers were without power.



Rain, sleet, ice and snow caused power outages last week when two winter storms came through Lincoln County. Businesses closed, school busses were parked, and people rushed to stores to stock up on supplies. Front line responders are to be commended for the excellent job they did serving the community.

Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) held up well under last week’s winter storms when freezing rain covered roads, trees and electric lines. The majority of outages occurred when the ice-covered trees and limbs snapped under the weight of the ice and came in contact with power lines. At peak on Monday, February 15, FPU had approximately 1,600 customers without power.

FPU crews worked throughout the night Monday and into Tuesday evening to restore power. Working 16-hour days, crews had all but a few isolated outages back on by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. As the second storm deposited seven inches of snow in the area, crews continued working the next several days.

“Our utility system is well-maintained, and FPU’s pre-storm planning assisted us in all departments under extreme weather conditions,” said FPU CEO/General Manager Britt Dye. “In preparing for the colder temperatures, we made sure there was plenty of natural gas in storage to ensure our supply during the extreme weather and all water tanks were filled to maximum capacity for residents to have water in the case of an extended outage. We try to plan for every contingency when it comes to storm preparedness.”

Dye said that FPU was determined to get all power restored as quickly and safely as possible. “Some areas were out longer than we would have liked due to road conditions,” he added. “I appreciate the hard work and dedication of all employees and the support of our Board of Directors who believe in improving our infrastructure for all utilities.”

Calls to FPU reporting outages were answered in a timely manner. For future references, the FPU SmartHub app features an interactive Power Outage Map where customers can view and report outages.

Fayetteville Police Department’s Commander Coby Templeton said the city’s volume of traffic was down considerably, which, “made life easier for police and the safety of the community.”

Templeton said some of the officers live in the county and had difficulty getting to work. To prevent a staff shortage, fellow officers went out into the county and brought those officers to work. Once at the station, four-wheel drive vehicles were used to provide service to the city.

“We had fewer accidents last week, [compared to previous weeks],” the commander said, adding that officers worked four accidents and assisted four motorists. He credited this to residents heeding traffic advisories asking everyone who possibly could to stay home.

Public Works was credited with doing “an excellent job” getting streets cleared.

It has been several years since Lincoln County saw this much snow and it didn’t take long for kids of all ages to be out building snowmen, creating snow angels, sledding, having snowball fights and eating snow cream. They paid little heed to wet clothing, runny noses, cold fingers or rosy cheeks. Plain and simple – it was fun!