|Scene from Southwest Knoxville|
During a 15 minute news conference, Gabriel Bolas, an incident commander with the utility company, said KUB has 60 crews working rotating 16-hour shifts, but it’s taking some time to navigate many of the roads to get to the downed lines.
He said the company’s call centers also are fully staffed, but the payment centers are closed, so no one will be cut off due to a non-payment.
He noted that officials were looking at a “multi-day event” before everyone is back online and that at the peak, some 21,000 customers were without power. He said crews focused first on critical care facilities, which they’ve taken care of, and then mix in the areas with the largest outages and those that have been shut down the longest.
“Damage has been pretty significant,” Bolas said. “So far, we’re getting around OK, but it’s slower than normal.”
Bill Elmore, chief operating officer for KUB, said customers so far have been “appreciative” and “appear to be understanding.”
“The fact that it hit early yesterday morning and continued into the night meant the restoration effort was an ongoing one, and as we were restoring power, additional outages were occurring,” he said.
KUB also is working closely with the city, county and state Department of Transportation.
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