ON YOUR SIDE: What to do if an ice storm takes out your weather head

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 8:41 PM CST
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The possibility of ice and strong winds Friday could lead to power outages across the Ozarks.

With most power outages, you call your utility company and wait for crews to get the problem fixed, but if it's your weather head that's causing the problem it's up to you to fix it.

"City utilities obligation ends at the drop from the power pole to your home," said James Tillman, the owner of Complete Electrical Solutions.

Joel Alexander with City Utilities said the city is limited on how it can help.

"If the weather head is damaged on a home our role is going to be we restore the power up to that weather head if the weather head is capable of accepting electricity," he said. "If it's damaged in any way we can't actually reconnect electricity to that home."

Tillman said homeowners will have to turn to an electrician for help.

"We typically can respond pretty fast, but in 2007 when we had the ice storm we had 300 calls in one morning, so you can book up pretty fast," he said.

Tillman said you need to make sure to use a licensed electrician because of the permits and inspections that are involved.

"Don't let some bootlegger come in and get you in trouble," he said.

Tillman also recommended checking the price tag before you agree to bring them out. He said some places could be overcharging you.

"A typical repair is between $300 and $500," he said. "It shouldn't cost $1,000."

Tillman said the best way to prevent damage to your weather head is to watch for nearby tree limbs.

"What causes your service to come down is low hanging branches over your power lines," he said. 'Try to get City Utilities to work with you and get everything cut back toward the trees [because] that's typically what causes the ice to bring it down."

City Utilities is constantly trimming trees around Springfield, but if you're worried about those closest to your your weather head the responsibility falls back on you.

"We ask that the customers take care of those," said Alexander. "We're more than happy to come out and disconnect those lines so they can have a contractor come out and take care of the trimming and everything."

He said if you lose power this weekend you should call your utility first and it can help you determine what needs to be done from there.

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