Preparing For The Cold
The New Year's first storm could affect lower elevations with powerful winds and icing conditions. That forecast has people preparing for possible power outages. It's always a threat when the wind blows trees into power lines or ice causes branches to tangle with the wires.
In Weaverville, Ed Eberle is loading his truck with firewood he sells to people with fireplaces and wood stoves. He sells a truckload for $220. It burns best when thoroughly dried out. With last year's record rainfall, the load is moist but burnable. He delivered a load to customers who say the fireplace helps them save money on their electricity bill by allowing their heat pump to idle. When the power goes off, they crank up the fire, and stay warm.
Generators are also a popular back-up system when the lights go out, but can be dangerous when improperly connected to a residence or business. That's because the power can feed back into the utility power grid and possibly electrocute power company workers repairing the lines.
Generators can be used safely if a heavy-duty extension cord is used to power a light or appliance inside the home. Generators and fuel should be kept away from the home to avoid fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Instructions should be followed carefully to avoid overloading the generator circuit. Licensed electricians can safely wire generators to home systems using a transfer switch that blocks the flow of power back into the utility lines.