Around 1,100 Moore County residents wake up without power

As of early Tuesday morning, nearly 1,100 Moore County residents remained without power. DREMC linemen were forced to stop repair attempts Monday night when road conditions and falling trees made it dangerous to continue. (File Photo)

MOORE COUNTY — Faced with treacherous driving conditions and downed trees throughout their service areas, Duck River linemen and contractors were forced to stop their repair attempts Monday night due to safety concerns.

As ice accumulated on area trees, power lines and transformers popped across southern, middle Tennessee taking the power of nearly 9,000 DREMC customers with them. Early Tuesday morning, the local utility’s outage view page reported that linemen restored a little over 1,200 of those affected but nearly 8,000 remained without power including over 1,000 Lynchburg residents from as far north as the Motlow College area and as far south as Hurdlow.

DREMC district offices remain closed today so that all staff can focus on getting power restored to those impacted by the winter storm. Duck River reminded customer on Tuesday that there is no need to individually report power outage to local office. DREMC’s new wireless meters automatically report outages for customers.

According to Mayor Lewis, three Duck River repair crews were working in Moore County to restore power and Metro emergency crews were helping to remove downed trees and limbs.

Locally, most of the heavy sleet and freezing rain moved out of the area overnight but light snow continued to fall and could accumulate up to a half an inch to an inch, according to the National Weather Service.

Moore County officials warn that many area road remain covered in black ice and travel should be avoided if at all possible. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

DREMC, TVA donate to Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce

Lynchburg Chamber President Keith Moses and Vice President Woodye Bedford (far right) recently accepted Lynchburg’s portion of a $25,000 donation to area chambers of commerce from both Duck River and TVA. (Photo Provided)

LYNCHBURG — Frontier Days, the annual Jack Daniel World Invitational Barbecue … lots of events that normally fill the streets of Lynchburg didn’t happen in 2020 and that means that our local chamber has less money in their coffers to help local small businesses.

With that in mind Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) recently teamed up to make contributions directly to area chambers of commerce including the Lynchburg/Moore County Chamber of Commerce.

“DREMC is proud to support these chambers and the work they are doing to stimulate the economy during these challenging times,” said DREMC President and CEO Scott Spence. “The goal of this donation is to help existing businesses get the support they need to continue providing jobs, as well as to promote new business development, which creates even more jobs for the members we serve. This is one way by which DREMC can contribute to these efforts.”

Both DREMC and TVA funded the total $25,000 contribution to area chambers with matching $12,500 donations. Several chambers of commerce in the DREMC service area have been awarded funding with each being presented a portion of the total donated funds to support economic revitalization and job growth in their communities. Other chambers receiving a portion of the funding include the Maury County Alliance, the Franklin County Chamber, the Manchester Chamber, the Shelbyville/Bedford County Chamber and the Marshall County Chamber.

“On behalf of the Lynchburg Metro-Moore Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses, we would like to thank DREMC for their generous donation,” said Chamber President Keith Moses. “These funds will be used to reinvigorate our local economy following the difficult challenges we have been faced with due to the unprecedented pandemic.”

This is the second COVID-19 relief contribution made by DREMC. In June 2020, DREMC made a $60,000 donation to their residential electric bill assistance program, Project HELP, which has supported hundreds of families facing financial instability. (To read our coverage of Project Help, click here). •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Attention MCHS Class of 2022: DREMC invites you to enter writing contest for scholarship dollars

February 19 is the deadline for MCHS juniors to enter the DREMC Creative Writing Contest. At least one student from Moore County will win. (File Photo)

LOCAL NEWS — Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) invites high school juniors across their service area – which includes Moore County – to enter their 2021 writing contest. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the year’s winner will not tour Washington D.C. as a group. Instead, applicants will be eligible to win higher education scholarship funds. The deadline to enter is Friday, February 19 and the winners will be announced after March 26.

One student from Moore, Maury, and Giles counties and two students from Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, and Marshall counties will be selected. Home school students are also invited to apply.

To enter the DREMC Creative Writing Scholarship Competition, students should submit a 750 to 900 word short story that explores how Tennessee’s electric cooperative help build a brighter Tennessee. Entries will be judged on appropriate treatment of the theme, originality, as well as grammar and composition.

The top essay winners will qualify for additional college scholarship dollars awarded by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA) for the state’s top-judged stories.

“I’ve been working with the TECA for my whole teaching career with this essay contest,” said MCHS’s Lisa Price Moorehead. “It’s a fabulous opportunity.”

MCHS students with questions should contact Moorehead at the high school or DREMC’s Connie Potts at cpotts@dremc.com or 931-680-5881.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

DREMC crews aid hurricane stricken Louisiana

DREMC lineman Matt Swan wades through the muddy and flooded electric right-of-way to begin rebuilding a section of line destroyed by Hurricane Delta. (Photo Provided)

Hurricanes Laura and Delta pounded the southern coastal states – leaving a path of destruction and hundreds of thousands without electricity in impacted areas, especially Louisiana. That’s when linemen from Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) rush in to help.

“In emergencies, crews work long days in difficult and dangerous conditions,” said DREMC Operations Superintendent Lusk. “In Louisiana, not only did crews work in dangerous conditions and unfamiliar territory, but they also dealt with flooded areas that made accessing some of the damage difficult. High temperatures and humidity increased worker fatigue. Regardless of the conditions, DREMC employees were quick to respond to the call for help, and we appreciate their willingness to assist others.”

In September, 16 DREMC linemen volunteered to rebuild electric infrastructure in Deridder, Louisiana, a hard-hit area that lost power to all of its 43,000 members following both hurricanes. Due to the widespread damage caused by first hurricane and the long-expected power restoration times, DREMC assembled two initial volunteer line crews to assist Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc (BECI). Each crew spent several days rebuilding electric lines, which allowed for significant progress to be made for residents who had been without power for weeks.

The Duck River Electric crew set many of the new poles in Louisiana’s Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. service area in the aftermath of the hurricane. This photo reveals how hurricane wind gusts tore through trees, which contributed to bringing down electric lines.

“One of the crew members said they repaired more powerlines during this restoration effort than in any other storm they’ve worked,” said Lusk.

On October 9, Hurricane Delta, a Category 2 storm, slammed the same areas of Louisiana, as well as other coastal states, dropping more than a foot of rain as powerful winds battered communities already ravaged by Hurricane Laura. Delta left more than 600,000 homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast without power where electric services had just been rebuilt and restored. 

For the second time in six weeks, BECI lost power to all its members. Many of the assisting electric cooperatives who previously helped returned to assist following Hurricane Delta. A third DREMC crew volunteered to help repair the second round of damage.

“If there is a bright side to getting hit with two consecutive hurricanes, it is that Hurricane Delta did not inflict the same level of devastation to the electric systems there,” said DREMC’s Lewisburg District Manager Troy Crowell. “Hurricane Laura left miles and miles of electric lines destroyed, which our crews, along with hundreds of other line workers, helped rebuild. After Delta hit, much of the new lines and poles are still standing, and that helped speed the recovery process.” 

DREMC linemen volunteering to assist Louisiana with power restoration included Chad Anderson, Bryan Burton, Taylor Byrd, Joel Doak, Tommy Fly, Eli Gore, Patrick Hunt, Charlie Jacks, Matt Keele, Rob Mason, Scott McGill, Jonathan Riley,  Sean Scheller, Robert Smartt, Trey Stewart and Matt Swan.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

DREMC: Monday night’s storm increases power outages

Monday’s night’s thunderstorms brought more downed trees, broken power poles, and damaged transformers. DREMC reports just 49 Lynchburg residents still without power. {File Photo}

Southern, middle got hit hard on Sunday leaving 19,000 Duck River Membership Corporation (DREMC) customers without power at the height of the outages. Broken poles, downed power lines, and damaged transformers plus a host of fallen trees were reported from Columbia to Sewanee.

Then on Monday night, our area got hit again with another round of severe thunderstorm only compounding the issue. As of Tuesday morning an additional 5,000 homes were without power including 200 Moore County customers. By the publishing of this article that number reduced to 49.

According to DREMC, they’ve restored power to over 10,000 homes and crews will continue to work throughout the day to restore power.

You can get updates 24/7 at DREMC Outage Viewer by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

TVA, DREMC partner to keep the lights on in Moore County

STATE NEWS — The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) are doing their part to make sure the lights stay on.

On Thursday, TVA announced their intention to extend $1 billion of credit support to local power companies, like Duck River, to give utilities more flexibility in working with customers during the COVID-19-related financial crunch. TVA will defer a portion of any power cooperative or local power company’s monthly TVA wholesale power payment throughout the COVID-19 response.

DREMC also confirmed its commitment to the community on March 19 by announcing that it has stopped disconnections for non-payment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These actions were taken in recognition of the financial hardships some members may face due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We understand electricity is essential for the health and safety of you and your family during these difficult times.” said Duck River Electric Membership Corporation President and CEO Scott Spence.

Moore County residents will continue to receive regular monthly bills and DREMC says that continued payments by those who can pay will be important to keeping future electrics prices low.

“We cannot solve many of today’s national or international problems, but we want to do what we can to help you,” Spence said.

DREMC posted an employee video on their Facebook page on Friday to explain the changes and put customer’s minds at ease. You can view that video by clicking here. Questions? Contact the DREMC Lynchburg office at 931-759-7344. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Lynchburg DREMC offices closed to the general public

LOCAL NEWS — As of this morning, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation will close its Lynchburg office and seven other regional office lobbies to the general public as a safety measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“This decision to temporarily close the lobbies is based on the growing risk of exposure and the caution recommended by local, state and national government to help contain the spread of the virus,” says DREMC President and CEO Scott Spence. “DREMC employees are working to ensure that we provide as many essential services possible. With the lobbies closed to the public, we ask that DREMC members and vendors contact employees by phone or email when possible and continue to use the drive-through at each office for your convenience as most of them have extended hours to assist members .”

You can still contact the Lynchburg office by calling 931.759.7344, or email employees directly. Customers may also use the cooperative’s company email, corpinfo@dremc.com if you don’t know who to direct your communications to. They also have an after hours emergency number, 931.759.7371.

To establish, transfer or disconnect electric service, call the Lynchburg office for assistance. Another option for establishing electric service is to click the APPLY FOR SERVICE tab found on DREMC’s website homepage, download the membership application, and follow instructions. To transfer or disconnect service, please call the Lynchburg office or email corpinfo@dremc.com.

To make bill payments, DREMC encourages members to use one of the free, fast and remote payment options, including the mobile app, website payment portal at http://www.dremc or by calling the office. No extra fees apply when using debit or credit cards for payments. If members choose to pay by check via phone, please speak with a DREMC member service representative and have your routing number ready.

Spence reminds DREMC members that scammers may use the current situation to attempt to take advantage of people. He reminds members that DREMC will not call and demand payment with a pre-paid card or ask for sensitive banking information over the phone. If you receive such a call, please hang up and call the Lynchburg DREMC office to discuss any concerns regarding your account.

“We regret any inconvenience the temporary lobby closings may cause, but in efforts to aid in reducing the risk of exposure to the virus, we believe this precaution is in the best interests of our members and employees,” adds Spence. “With health and safety at the forefront, DREMC employees will continue working behind the scenes to maintain the quality of service you expect and deserve from your electric cooperative.”

You can learn more at the DREMC website. •

The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

DREMC says “right tree, right place” ahead of Tennessee Tree Day

LOCAL NEWS — Plant the right tree in the right place. That’s the advice of Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) as Tennessee Tree Day approaches on March 21.

“When planting trees, be sure to know how tall the tree will be at maturity to avoid interference with overhead power lines,” DREMC President and CEO Scott Spence urges. “Trees planted too close to power lines can not only cause outages but also pose safety concerns.”

Tennessee Tree Day is an annual event that encourages Tennessee residents to order, plant and nurture a new seedling to beautify their personal properties and communities. Seedlings must be pre-ordered and purchased by March 1 at this link. The site provides a list of native tree species available through the Tennessee Tree Day event and participating tree pick-up locations, including DREMC’s Chapel Hill office at 4637 Nashville Highway where four trees will be distributed: Southern Red Oak, Tulip Poplar, Redbud and Indigo Bush.

Trees cost $2.49 to $4.99 per tree depending on species. Bare root seedlings received through this program are 1 to 3 feet tall. Trees are available only by pre-ordering; no extra trees will be at the pick-up locations. Trees ordered through the Tennessee Tree Day campaign must be picked up at participating locations on Friday, March 20 during the times listed on the website.

Spence says that a guide to planting the right tree in the right place relative to power lines can be found at www.dremc.com/the-right-tree-in-the-right-place.

Some trees like the Indigo Bush are expected to reach 15 feet tall and spread up to 10 feet while others like the Southern Red Oak can grow up to 80 feet tall with a spread of 70 feet wide. Such details are included in the online tree order form.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

DREMC asks state officials to address line worker safety

Pictured (from left to right) DREMC Board Member Brent Willis, Director of Operations Patrick Jordan, President & CEO Scott Spence, Director of Finance Shelia Orrell, Rep. Bricken, DREMC Board Member Baxter White and DREMC Board Member Mike England.

STATE NEWS — Duck River Electric Membership Corporation (DREMC) representatives met with nine lawmakers last week with line worker safety at the top of their collective minds.

According to a press release, more than 200 electric cooperative members from across Tennessee were in Nashville Feb. 4 for the legislative conference asking for commonsense rules to protect the state’s electric line workers.

More and more, electric consumers are opting to install personal generation sources, like solar panels, on personal property. However, when not installed properly, those sources can pose a real threat to the safety of local line workers. Utility professionals asked lawmakers to support legislation that would require property owners installing a generation source to notify their local power provider, comply with safety codes, and install a switch that would allow the generation source to be disconnected during an emergency.

“The safety of our line workers and first responders is our top priority,” said President and CEO Scott Spence. “I believe this legislation will help protect our hard-working employees allowing them to return home safely to their families at the end of the day.”

According to the press release, other topics during the visits included legislation that would allow certain utility-owned vehicles to display the Powering Tennessee specialty license plate. Funds from the sale of the plate benefit the Tennessee Line Worker Lifeline Fund, a 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to assisting line workers and their families who may have been injured or killed in the course of their duties.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}