About the Electric Department
Tuscumbia Electric Department has been in business since 1937 and currently serves over 4000 residential customers and over 750 small and large commercial customers inside the corporate limits. Tuscumbia is one of the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) 154 power distributors. Tuscumbia's power is currently provided by a 161 kV feed from TVA and distributed through a 13 kV system from the substation located on Decatur Street.
Electric Rates | Electric Safety | Security Light Program | Tree Trimming Program | Read Your Electric Meter
Electrical Safety - Downed Power Lines
Downed power lines are a serious emergency and should be reported immediately by calling Tuscumbia Utility Department during the day at (256) 383-0321 or after hours at (256) 383-3121. Never under any circumstances, go near a downed power line or anything that is in contact with the line. It is very possible that the line could be energized, and there is absolutely no way for you to tell the difference. Remember, too, the line can become energized at any time.
If you are in your vehicle that hits a pole and wires fall on your vehicle, stay inside and ask someone to call 911 for fire and police rescue first, then Tuscumbia Utility Department for assistance. Unless severe injury or fire threatens your life, you should remain in your car until a representative from the utility department tells you it is safe to leave. If you must leave, however, jump completely clear of the vehicle, never touching the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and be careful to maintain your balance.
Again, to report an emergency such as downed power wire, an extremely low wire or one that is sparking, call Tuscumbia Utilities at (256) 383-0321 during normal business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or call (256) 383-3121 anytime.
Always be safety conscious around electricity. Develop the following habits to avoid burns, shock, and fire accidents.
• Never operate an electrical appliance while touching a metal object (especially plumbing), standing on a wet surface, or taking a bath or shower.
• Always unplug appliances before cleaning, removing parts, etc.
• Keep motors clean.
• Never insert metal objects into an appliance or outlet.
• Do not play with cords and wall outlets. Cover unused outlets with plastic safety caps.
• Avoid using extension cords whenever possible. If you must use one, make sure it is heavy enough. Don't plug extension cords together.
• Never yank cords out of the wall by pulling on the cord.
• Be sure your house is wired correctly. If lights dim when an appliance goes on, motors slow down or fuses blow frequently, then your house is inadequately wired.
• Misused electricity is the number one cause of all fires. Fires start from a circuit overload, a short circuit, or an inadequate cord.
• A hot electrical device, like a light bulb, can get too close to something that can burn and cause a fire.
• The insulation on an overloaded cord may burn or melt, exposing live wires. Live wires can spark and cause a fire.
• Electrical fires have a source of electricity that may still be conducting electric current.
• Remember the following tips regarding space heaters, toasters, stoves, hair dryers, curling irons and other heat-producing electric appliances.
• Never touch wires running through a tree; you may get an electrical shock. Before climbing a tree, check to see if a line is nearby or touching the tree. If it is, find another tree to climb.
• Always check before working near overhead power lines, and choose a path to avoid any possible contact.
• Beware of High Voltage Danger signs. Never play near electrical installations.
• Stay away from fallen power lines. Call the utility department right away and give them the exact location of the downed line.
• Keep ladders (especially metal ladders) AWAY from electric lines
• Disconnect equipment or turn off circuits when changing bulbs.
• Never use electric tools outside in rain or on wet surfaces.
• Wear shoes while using electric lawn mower or hedge clipper.
• Use an electric power mower on dry grass only.
• Antennas should be grounded and have lightning arresters.
• Receptacle (wall outlets) for outdoor use should always be the GFCI type.
• Fly kites only in open fields, away from electric lines.
• If your kite does catch on a wire or on a high pole, don't try to remove it.
• DON'T use products containing metal, foil, or tinsel on kites. • DON'T fly kites on or near a public highway.
• DON'T fly kites in wet or stormy weather.
How to Read Your Meter
The Electricity Department encourages all of our customers to read their electric meters regularly. It is important to read, understand, and keep track of your electrical energy use because your electric bill is based on the total number of kilowatt-hours you use on a monthly basis.
Your electric meter is read monthly, and your consumption is determined by subtracting the previous month's meter reading from the current month's reading. Electric meters are highly accurate and dependable tools for electric consumption evaluation.
The meter operates like the odometer in your car, registering ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands of kilowatt-hours. Some meters have four dials, others have five. Some meters have a digital readout, others have dials. You can read your own electric meter by following these steps.
• If you have a meter that looks like this (digital), simply write down the numbers.
• The correct reading for the example is 2199.
• If your meter looks like this perform the following steps:
• The correct reading for the example is 8542.
1. Standing directly in front of the meter, record the position of the hand starting with the left.
2. If the hand is between two numbers, always record the lower number. When the hand is between 9 and 0, 0 is considered to be a ten. Therefore, 9 would be the lower number.
3. When the hand is, or appears to be, directly on a number, check the dials to the right. If the hand on the dial to the right is between 9 and 0, record the lowest number, otherwise use exact number.
Try reading your electric meter every day for a while. Subtract the previous day's reading from the current reading to get an idea of how many kilowatt-hours you are using.
Security Light Program
Outdoor security light preferences may be 175-watt mercury vapor, 400-watt mercury vapor, 100 watt high-pressure sodium, or 250 watt high pressure sodium fixtures. There is no installation charge, but the customer will be required to sign a one-year contract. Once installed, all maintenance of the security light is the responsibility of Tuscumbia Electric Department.
Tree Trimming Program
Tuscumbia Utilities trims and removes trees and limbs along electrical easements so those trees do not come in contact with high voltage electrical wires. This is done for the purpose of public safety and also for reliability of electric service. Tuscumbia Utilities must meet applicable standards for electrical safety. It also seeks to limit power interruptions to its customers in order to serve them, including those on life support systems and those who may suffer economic loss if electric power is interrupted.
Trees located off the power line right-of-way, which are determined by Tuscumbia Utilities to be a source of interference with lines may be removed by Tuscumbia Utilities with customer approval. Tuscumbia Utilities will cut the tree down, remove and clean up brush and small limbs, and, if requested, leave wood suitable for burning in the customer's use. Tree limbs around customer service lines are the responsibility of the customer. On request, during normal working hours, Tuscumbia Utilities will take the service line down and reinstall at no charge to allow the customer to either trim or fall the tree.
Tree trimmers will be given latitude to make site by site decisions regarding trimming of trees to maintain aesthetics, and environmental responsibility while achieving appropriate system clearances. Specific questions on tree trimming practices may be directed to the Electrical Superintendent at (256) 383-0321.