East Tennesseans could go days without power following widespread outages during frigid temperatures
SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - More than 19,000 Sevier County residents are without power on Christmas Eve, according to the Sevier County Electric System.
Officials said outages began around 6 a.m. on Thursday and have continued to increase as heavy snow covers the area.
Jeff Hedrick, director of engineer and operations with The Sevier County Electric System told WVLT News fallen trees and stalled drivers are making it difficult for crews to address damaged power lines. Hedrick suspects it will take several days for all power to be restored.
At some point, Hedrick said neighboring utility companies assisted but had to return to address power outages in their hometowns. As of Thursday night, there were 10 crews out servicing the area.
Thomas from Piegon Forge told WVLT News he and his disabled mom lost power at 8 p.m. inside his apartment.
“We’re just going to play it out,” said Thomas. “If we have to, we might call the local fire department or police department-if they can assist us to go to a shelter.”
The Sevier County Electric System did not give an estimated time for power to be restored.
Thursday night, Sevier County Vice-Mayor Bryan McCarter updated residents via Facebook. McCarter said trees are down, blocking roads across the county. According to McCarter, the county is working on level one of its snow plan as of Thursday night. That means when an ambulance is dispatched to a call, firefighters will assist.
More than 22,000 Knoxville residents were without power. Around 10:30 p.m. thousands of residents had their power restored.
A spokesperson with KUB told WVLT News power is expected to be restored Christmas Day as dozens of outside crews begin to aid in the process.
Knoxville Utilities Board reported 16,637 residents without power around 10:40 p.m..
KUB said crews will work through the evening to restore power across the service area.
“Thank you for your patience as our crews navigate difficult weather to respond to each outage event,” KUB said in a Tweet.
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