Power Outage & Restoration

If my power goes out, what should I do?

Check your circuit breakers or fuses to see if it’s an isolated problem.  Next, examine your meter.  If the meter box or any wires look damaged, call a certified electrician.  They may need to make repairs before MEC can reconnect power.  If you don’t find any problems, call your local MEC office to report the outage.
Newland: 828-733-0159; Roan Mountain: 423-772-3521; Mountain City: 423-727-1800.

Who do I call if electrical wires have been pulled away from my house?

MEC is responsible for delivering power to your meter and service entrance or masthead.  You are responsible for repairs from the meter into your home.  If service has been pulled away from your house, a qualified electrician of your choice must make the repairs.  Before power can be turned back on, The State Electrical Inspector must inspect the work and issue a release.

What are MEC’s priorities for restoring service?

Our crews work around the clock until everyone has power again.  MEC follows a three-step process recognized as an industry standard best.  Hospitals, police departments, fire stations and other public health and safety facilities are priority one.

  • Step 1 – Repairs are made at substations and on main distribution lines that leave the substations.
  • Step 2 – Crews fix damage to tap lines that branch off into groups of homes or neighborhoods.
  • Step 3 – Power is restored to pockets of customers and then to individual homes.

Do elected officials, employees or other important individuals get special attention?

No.  MEC does not give preferential treatment.  Work is not assigned according to when customers report their outage, where they live or the status of their account

What if I have special medical needs?

If you or a family member relies on an electrical life-sustaining medical device in your home, call us to make sure we are aware of it. In some cases, severe storms can damage our electrical system so badly that it takes days to fix.  If you depend on electricity, it’s important to have an emergency back-up plan in place.  For more information on critical referral, call your local MEC office.

How can I tell if a downed power line is still carrying electricity?

Any downed line could be energized, so never go near downed power lines.  Electrocution is a real danger when storms strike.  Tell your children about the potential hazards and to stay away from all wires and cables.  Call your local office to report a downed line.

Are there safety concerns in using a portable generator?

Never operate a generator inside your home.  Keep it outside for proper ventilation.  Plug appliances directly into the generator, and only use extension cords when necessary.  The number of appliances a generator can safely power depends on its rated wattage.  Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper use and load.  Only a licensed electrician should attempt to hook up a generator to the main electric panel of your home or business.  If it’s connected improperly power can “back feed” into utility lines causing harm or death to line workers.

Who do I call if a tree falls near a power line?

If a tree falls within 10 feet of a power line resulting in an outage, leave the work to us.  If the line is sparking, report the emergency by calling the local office.

Why would an MEC crew pass my house without stopping?

The crew could be looking for the cause of the outage or working at a nearby location before electric service can be restored to your home.

How long does food last after the power goes out?

According to the USDA, food stored in a fully-stocked freezer will stay cold for two days.  A half-full freezer will keep items frozen one day.  An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold four hours after power is lost.  Check the temperature inside your fridge once electricity is restored to determine if the food is safe to eat.  It should be at or below 40 degrees with the freezer at or below zero degrees.

How do I report a street light problem?

Contact your local office here.