CEMC restores power after historic severe weather event

People working on telephone line

Strong storms and high winds that moved through Tennessee on Friday, March 3, caused significant damage to CEMC’s distribution system, leaving as many as 61,000 members throughout its five-county service area without power at the height of the storm.

Over the next four days, crews from every CEMC district office, alongside contract crews from MDR, Service Electric, BESCO, Pike and Carroll Electric Membership Cooperative in Arkansas worked around the clock, through downed trees, poles and wires, to restore power to our membership. Tree trimming crews from Looks Great Services, A & G Tree Services, G & C Tree Service and Wolf Tree Service worked to clear right of ways of debris and trees from lines. In all, 95 crews worked the outage event.

CEMC works hard to maintain a resilient system, but it is difficult to prevent outages during an event like this. This event was particularly challenging because our area not only experienced 50-70+ mph wind gusts, but we were also hit with high sustained winds that lasted throughout the day and into the evening on Friday. Crews made great progress restoring power; however, they continued finding additional damage as trees continued to fall even after the storm/winds passed.

Broken poles and wires close Highway 12 in Montgomery County

More than 175 poles were downed or broken during the storm.

In terms of historical significance, this outage event was one of the largest in CEMC’s history. While a greater percentage of members were without power (85%) during the 1994 ice storm, the total number of power outages from this severe weather event (61,000) is the largest on record.

CEMC staff work with Say Cheese Please food truck to provide meals for our workers

We understand power outages, especially extended ones such as these, are incredibly inconvenient and we want to thank our members for their patience, support and encouragement during this significant outage event. We also want to thank the local businesses that helped us provide food, fuel and lodging for our nearly 600 workers.

  • The Depot – Springfield TN
  • Dean Oil (Clyde Dean)
  • Gray Smoke Barbecue
  • Say Cheese Please TN
  • Tacos Azteca
  • Philly King – Clarksville
  • Jersey Mike’s – Clarksville
  • Pitts BBQ – Portland
  • Excell Market and BBQ – Clarksville
  • Hardee’s – Clarksville, Gallatin, Portland
  • Cheap Hill Church of Christ – Ashland City
  • Bojangles – Springfield
  • Publix – Clarksville
  • Firehouse Subs
  • The Lodge at Paris Landing
  • Chick-fil-A Wilma Rudolph – Clarksville
  • Main Street Nutrition – Portland
  • KFC – Ashland City
  • China Chef – Clarksville
  • McDonalds – Clarksville
CEMC staff work around the clock in our control center to manage outages and dispatch crews