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HIGH COUNTRY — Blue Ridge Energy is on high alert and ready to respond should the winter storm predicted this weekend lead to power outages in the cooperative’s service area of Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany and portions of Avery, Wilkes and Alexander counties.

Current predictions are for heavy snowfall, especially in the mountain counties, and possible freezing rain or sleet mixed with snow in the foothills beginning early Sunday. Weather predictions could change as the weekend approaches. Heavy, wet snow and ice can pose problems for power lines and lead to outages. Blue Ridge Energy line technicians and all staff are prepared to respond to potential outages.

Blue Ridge Energy members are advised to be prepared with the cooperative’s outage reporting options and tips below:

Outages may be reported the following ways:

  • Call 1-800-448-2383
  • By using the Blue Ridge Energy mobile app
  • By text when signed up for outage texting

For outage status at any time:

View the cooperative’s online outage map at bremco.maps.sienatech.com/ or on our mobile app.

Safety precautions before a storm hits:

The cooperative recommends creating an emergency supply kit and following these tips to stay safe and comfortable in the event of outages:

  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • NOAA Weather Radio (or, sign up for notifications from emergency and weather services on your smart phone or table)
  • Keep cell phones charged and have fully charged battery backups
  • Extra water for drinking and cooking
  • Nonperishable food items
  • Manual can opener
  • First aid kit, including prescription medications
  • Extra blankets

Additional safety tips:

  • Help prevent your pipes from freezing by turning your faucets on just enough so they can drip, especially if temperatures approach 20 degrees F.
  • If using a space heater or heat lamp, be sure to place it on a solid surface at least three feet away from anything combustible. Always turn off space heaters before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Never leave a fireplace unless its embers are completely extinguished. Also consider using a glass or metal fire screen to catch sparks and rolling logs, and never store flammable liquids near sources of heat.
  • Know how to use your generator. Generators should be placed in an open and ventilated area. They should never be operated inside a home—including spaces like the basement and garage—due to the danger of inhaling carbon monoxide fumes.
  • Never touch a downed power line. Warn others to stay away and call Blue Ridge Energy or 911. 

Blue Ridge Energy posts information during major outages on its social media channels:

However, outage reporting is only available using one of the three options above (phone, mobile app or text) to ensure outages are immediately and accurately logged into the cooperative’s outage reporting and management system.

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