North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives Stand Ready for Hurricane Irene

Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are prepared to respond quickly to power outages that occur as a result of Hurricane Irene, which is forecasted to make landfall along the North Carolina coast this weekend.

Electric cooperatives are located in the communities they serve, and crews prepare for storms of this magnitude by testing equipment and checking supplies locally to ensure power restoration can begin as soon as conditions are safe. At the Tarheel Electric Membership Association (TEMA) in Raleigh, a purchasing and supply co-op owned by the state’s 26 electric cooperatives, employees are taking the necessary steps to coordinate restoration efforts.

The state’s cooperatives are committed to providing safe and reliable power, but outages caused by high winds and flooding are unpredictable. The cooperatives encourage the public to remember the following:

  • Portable generators are great to have in extended power outages, but they can be dangerous if installed or operated improperly. Only a licensed electrician should install one – do not attempt to do this yourself. Operate your generator in a clean, dry, well-ventilated space. Do not operate the unit in a confined area, such as garages, basements and storage sheds, which lack a steady exchange of air.

  • It is important to prepare an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, extra batteries, non-perishable food, a radio, blankets and bottled water in case of power outages.

  • Customers may experience flickering lights as wind speeds increase with the arrival of the storm. Sustained outages may follow. Cooperative line crews will begin restoration efforts as soon as it is safe.

  • STAY AWAY from downed or sparking power lines and report any that you may see to your local electric cooperative IMMEDIATELY. Contact information for each of the state’s electric cooperatives can be found at

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties, primarily in rural parts of the state.