Conway Corporation is making its usual winter preparations, and all electrical crews will be on duty in anticipation of tonight’s winter storm.
“Everything’s fully staffed,” according to Tommy Shackelford, Conway Corp. chief operating officer.
Conway Corp. CEO Richie Arnold said that vacations have been cancelled and contract tree-trimmers have been retained to keep working over the weekend. Conway Corp. has agreements with other state municipal utility services, and when one is especially hard hit the others will come to its aid. “We lean on each other in times like this,” Arnold said.
At the city’s water treatment plant, emergency electrical generators will have capacity to keep water services going “for as long as we can get diesel to them,” Shackelford said, and there is an extended period of unusually cold weather, water lines usually break well after the usual winter storm hazards are over, if at all.
As far as electrical service goes, Shackelford said that the first priority will be the safety of residents and Conway Corp. workers. With more people buying generators for their homes or businesses, Shackelford said that there’s more need to let them know how to use them responsibly and safely.
Any correctly installed electricity generator will have a main disconnect that cuts off the electrical connection between the generator and the city power grid. If a generator is running without being correctly disconnected from the grid it can electrify power lines that workers expect to be “dead,” leading to electrocutions.
If you don’t know whether your generator has a main disconnect or don’t know how to use it, Shackelford said, call Conway Corp. at 501-450-6000.
Shackelford added that there’s a popular YouTube.com do-it-yourself generator hookup video that gets the main disconnect part badly wrong — so if you learned how to do it on YouTube you should probably call and get it checked out. Also, don’t get near downed power lines, he said.
As far as restoring electricity if the storm brings down power lines, the first things to be repaired are the city’s main circuits that all “laterals” feed into. Next in order will be places like Conway Regional Medical Center, the police and fire stations and the McGee Center, which is on standby as a temporary place for people to get warm if there are extended power losses.
With residential power outages, Conway Corp. fixes lines that restore power to the most homes first, then move on accordingly. Residents that have the “service drop-down” running from the overhead lines directly to their home broken will probably be waiting the longest, Shackelford said.
Outages can be reported by calling Conway Corp.’s main number, 450-6000, by email at email@example.com, or by private Facebook.com message or through twitter.com.
Staff writer Angela Spencer contributed to this report.