As much of the region continues to experience a bout of dry and windy weather, Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) has put in effect its fire prevention procedures. The precautionary measures rely more heavily on fieldwork by operations personnel and less on the use of DMEA's automated and remotely controlled equipment. This special mode of operations greatly reduces the risk of a fire being started by electrical equipment but does come with ramifications: DMEA members who may have grown accustomed to limited and relatively short outages, may find that power outages last longer than under normal conditions.
"Our fire precaution procedures can extend the length of power outages in some cases. For instance, under normal circumstances, we can reconnect equipment remotely from our office. In fire prevention mode, we require our crew members to have eyes on the equipment before any attempt at restoration. This reduces our fire risk, but does take more time," explained Troy Hall, DMEA operations manager.
DMEA asks for member patience and, when necessary, cooperation. It's especially important for members to report any issues or damage to DMEA immediately. In many cases, a single phone call can save hours of searching by helping the co-op narrow its focus and pinpoint the cause of an outage. DMEA asks members who observe anything that seems out of the ordinary concerning power lines or power equipment to first and foremost, stay clear of the area in question. Then, call DMEA's main line at 877-687-3632 to report the situation.
"Providing safe and reliable power to our members is our number one priority. But, outages will happen and members should always be prepared -- weather, wildlife, cars hitting poles, and the like can all result in outages," said Hall. "We ask for our members' patience and assistance as we try to reduce the risk of fire and hopefully get through this time safely."
DMEA will return to normal operating procedures when the fire danger rating decreases to a safe level.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.