FLEC OUTage: When the Lights Go Out (and So Does Our Sanity!)

FLEC stands for Four County Electric Cooperative, a utility company that services several counties in South Central Tennessee. While FLEC is generally reliable when it comes to providing electricity to its customers, it’s not uncommon for outages to occur from time to time. When these outages happen, it can be a major inconvenience, especially in the summer when temperatures can climb into the triple digits. In this article, we’ll take a humorous look at some of the challenges of dealing with a FLEC outage.

The Dreaded Outage

Have you ever been sitting at home, watching TV or trying to get some work done, when suddenly everything goes dark? You stumble around trying to find your way to a flashlight, and it quickly becomes apparent that the electricity is out. It’s frustrating at the best of times, but when it’s hot outside, it can feel like you’re trapped in a sauna. “Why FLEC, why?!” you scream at the top of your lungs. Unfortunately, FLEC doesn’t have a direct hotline to God, so you’ll have to deal with this on your own.

The Heat is On

When the power goes out, the heat really starts to kick in. Without air conditioning, your house can quickly turn into an oven. The only thing worse than having no AC is having a faulty one, “Why did the AC have to break down now? It was working perfectly like 10 minutes ago!” you think to yourself. So, what’s a person to do? Here are a few tips:

  • Keep windows and doors closed during the day to keep the hot air out
  • Open them at night when it’s cooler to let the breeze in
  • Take a cold shower to cool down
  • Use ice packs, “Hey, I could put the ice cream on my head that’ll help too, right?” you joke
  • Set up a fan, “Some air flow can do wonders I guess.”
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The Dark Side

One of the worst things about a power outage is the complete darkness that comes with it. If you’re not prepared, you can easily trip and fall or knock something over, making your situation even worse. “Ouch! I stubbed my toe on the coffee table, why does it have to be so dark?!” you exclaim. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to minimize the darkness:

  • Keep a flashlight or lantern handy
  • Use candles, “Great, now I’ll burn the house down too!” you joke
  • Confiscate the headlamps from your camping supplies, “At least my multi-purpose knife will be useful now,” you think.
  • Set up something you can find easily by touch, e.g., a chair, a table, a door, etc., “well, I guess I should take mental notes of the furniture locations to avoid hitting them.”

Silence is Golden

One of the unexpected benefits of a power outage is the absolute silence that comes with it. Without the hum of the refrigerator, the beeping of the microwave, or the drone of the TV, you can finally hear yourself think. “Wow, it’s so quiet, I can hear my own heartbeat” you say. Of course, if you live with anyone else, the silence can be short-lived.

Bored Out of Your Mind

Without electricity, there’s not much to do other than sit around and wait for the power to come back on. If you’re someone who’s used to always being connected, this can be a real challenge. “I’m bored out of my mind, what can I do?” you complain. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Play board games or do a puzzle by candlelight, “Monopoly, anyone? Oh wait, we’re already bankrupt,” you joke.
  • Read a book or magazine, “Hey, I finally have time to finish Stephen King’s IT” you think.
  • Have a conversation with someone, “Remember the old days when people used to talk to each other face to face?” you joke.
  • Go outside and enjoy nature, “At least the stars look really bright tonight.” you say.
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The Waiting Game

One of the most frustrating things about a power outage is that you don’t know how long it’s going to last. The FLEC website might have a general estimate, but it’s not always accurate. Without electricity, time seems to slow down to a crawl. “Every passing minute feels like an eternity,” you groan. Here are a few things you can do to pass the time:

  • Take a nap, “Well, I guess I could catch up on my sleep.” you say.
  • Meditate or do some deep breathing exercises, “Om, okay maybe that helped a little.” you try.
  • Start a DIY project, “I could finally finish that bookshelf I started a year ago” you decide.
  • Clean something, “Hey, everything was already cleaned yesterday, but whatever…” you shrug.

Emergency Preparedness

Of course, the best way to deal with a power outage is to be prepared for it. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Have an emergency kit ready with flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, and non-perishable food, “maybe stock up more Ramen noodles?” you joke.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy, “better save FLEC on speed dial” you think.
  • Invest in a generator, “A generator would definitely make life easier in these situations.” you decide.
  • Charge your phone and other devices beforehand, “I should invest in a portable charger” you realize.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, dealing with a FLEC outage can be frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world. With a few basic preparations and a sense of humor, you can get through it. “Hey, at least it’s a good excuse to unplug and enjoy some quiet time.” you say. And when the lights finally come back on, you can breathe a sigh of relief and appreciate the simple things in life.

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Table: Top 5 Tennessee Counties with Highest Number of FLEC Customers

County Number of Customers
Coffee 17,275
Franklin 14,055
Lincoln 12,962
Grundy 4,131
Marion 4,141

List: Top 4 Things to Do During a Power Outage

  1. Read a book or do a puzzle by candlelight
  2. Go outside and enjoy nature
  3. Have a conversation with someone
  4. Meditate or do some deep breathing exercises

List: Top 4 Things to Prepare Before a Power Outage

  1. Have an emergency kit ready
  2. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy
  3. Invest in a generator
  4. Charge your phone and other devices beforehand

– Four County Electric Membership Corporation (n.d.). FLEC News. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.fourcty.org/power-outages/
– Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. (2021, January 3). Top counties with electric power suppliers. Tennessee Office of Energy Programs. Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/environment/energy/documents/OR21-electric-suppliers-counties.pdf