I live in the metro Atlanta area. This week we experienced the second snow in less than three weeks. Now this is the south, usually in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, only a couple of light snow falls even reach the main roads every year. A large number of outdoor transformers, especially in rural areas, are on power lines. After large amounts of snow falling, freezing, melting, and re-freezing, these transformers are under a large strain. People from the northern united states, that have migrated to the south, view southerners as un-prepared. These extreme conditions do however, provide a great strain on electrical loads. With all the rural residents being confined in their homes for long periods of time, the watts usage increases dramatically, ultimately raising the amperage on not only individual step down transformers, but even put a strain on the electrical sub-stations throughout the area.
As the moisture reaches insulators, that have began to break down, through heating and cooling, these protective components no longer are able to consistently protect the integrity of the electrical circuits. At this point, the electrical consumer is many times rendered helpless. When the power source fails, these individuals are forced to revert to primitive existence. The more treacherous the conditions remain can continue to deter the power provider from restoring power to their customers.
I am the owner of a commercial electrical service company. Even as this last storm was beginning to hit, the phone began to ring from people who had electrical issues on their properties. The time to maintain the integrity of electrical systems is before times of extreme conditions. Electrical fires contribute to over fifty thousand home fires every year in the united states.