Frequently Asked Questions
In the case of power outages, Sand Mountain Electric Cooperative (SMEC) employees will work around the clock until service is restored. The safety of co-op personnel and the public remain the highest priority. Other priorities are:
- Assess the overall system and repair major lines and substations that carry power to communities.
- Restore power to key services essential to community safety, health and welfare such as hospitals, police, fire, communications, water, sanitation and transportation providers.
- Make repairs that will return service to the largest number of members in the shortest period of time, then the next largest number and so on until power is returned to every member.
Members should call (256) 638-2153 to report an outage. SMEC will provide periodic service updates to local newspapers, radio, and television to keep everyone informed of our progress. Please do not interrupt crews who are working to restore power, as doing so can create a dangerous working environment.
These are questions often asked by SMEC members. If you don’t find your answer, please call us at (256)638-2153 or send an email with your question. SMEC is more than happy to answer all your questions!
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No. SMEC does not give preferential treatment. It is contrary to our storm restoration plan and company policy to single out any individual for priority electric service restoration.
An initial damage assessment of the system is performed by system monitoring equipment and utilizing an Outage Management System to group and analyze outages members reported by telephone. In addition, SMEC personnel will provides damage assessment by observation in the field.
One of the priorities is to remove trees from the lines that have damaged electrical equipment and are preventing service restoration. Members should not attempt to remove or trim trees that are near power lines. If a tree or tree limbs have fallen on a power line or pulled it down, do not attempt to get close to the line and do not attempt to remove the limbs or tree. Always assume downed lines are electrified and dangerous. Call (256) 638-2153 and report a downed line.
Note: Safety should always be the first priority when pruning. Look up. Be especially careful when working with a ladder, scaffold, pole or tree in the area. Do not trim near a power line.
If you see a SMEC crew passing but not stopping, it may be because work at a nearby location must be performed before electric service can be restored to you and your neighbors.
Fuses or circuit breakers in your home could have tripped and halted power, tree limbs could have fallen on a line serving your home, fuses on the transformer that serves your home may have tripped or could be damaged, and the primary line feeding the transformer could be damaged. If power has been restored and yours is still out, please call SMEC at (256) 638-2153 to make a report.
No. Electricians are not allowed to work on cooperative lines from the pole or transformer to your house. Your electrician handles work that needs to be done from the meter to inside the house, including your circuit breakers and home wiring.
You could have a tripped circuit breaker, a blown fuse or a broken connector or wire at one of the service leads to your house. Sometimes damage to these leads leave only the 120-volt outlets (or some of them) working. In this case, larger appliances that need 240-volt service such as water heater, air conditioners and ovens may be inoperable until repairs are made. It is safe to use the outlets you have available while you check with an electrician. If it’s a problem with a service lead to your home, SMEC crews will repair the wires when they arrive to restore service.
Call SMEC at (256) 638-2153 to report that your service drop wire appears to be loose. SMEC linemen will assess the situation and restore your service if it is safe to do so. However, if the conduit that houses wires attached to the side of your house or business, which is considered part of the house wiring, appears to be loose, SMEC linemen will secure the site so that it can be repaired by a licensed electrician. After the repairs are made, SMEC linemen will be glad to restore your service.
Turn off machinery immediately and call SMEC. A co-op lineman will determine whether electric power phases were connected properly.
Once service is restored, every effort is made to keep it on. However, while repairing other parts of the system, some interruptions may occur.
The amount of time to restore power depends on the amount of damage inflicted by the storm. Rest assured that no matter how severe the damage, SMEC will not stop until the last service is restored. You have our word on that.
No. Members must furnish and install the pole for a mobile home.
No. Members are responsible for opening and closing the ditch and providing the conduit.