SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — As of Wednesday evening, more than 12,000 Sevier County Electric Service (SCES) customers were still without power according to the company’s outage webpage. This left many anxious for the next 24-hours as more winter weather is expected to move into East Tennessee.

The General Manager and CEO of SCES, Allen Robbins, told WATE Monday most customers would have power restored within the next 48 to 72 hours. He added that for some it would be four or five days. With a new winter system moving toward the region, he said he doesn’t know what the timeline will look like.

Throughout the duration of these outages, Robbins has encouraged people without power to stay with others who do have power or head for a hotel. That’s exactly what the McKinney family did.

“We were actually asleep, and the power completely cut off,” said Zack McKinney of Pigeon Forge. “Cut out through the night, it was out for about 12 hours.”

While McKinney’s power was eventually turned back on, it’s the pipes that froze that pushed the family to head to the Quality Inn in Kodak.

“We all needed showers and everything else,” said the father of three. “We’re so grateful and privileged that quality gave us a place to stay.”

McKinney and his wife know these types of weather situations come with calling this region home. The front office manager of the hotel said lowering the prices for a hotel room during this time is just the right thing to do.

“It is an honor to do this for these people who are out in this community,” said Josh Hughes. “This is what the volunteer state is for, to help people.”

Throughout the week, Robbins has been watching the outage map in the SCES operations room tirelessly. With nearly 200 lineman and more than 60 tree trimmers out across the county, they all know the pressure is on before the next round of snow moves in.

Robbins said it comes down to two steps, clearing trees, then working on new power lines.

“We had one crew go into the Walden Creek area they went in and cut 60 trees out of the roadway before they ever, they didn’t get half the area looked at,” said Robbins.

Robbins also surveyed the damage in a chopper Wednesday morning. He said the time in the sky showed the large scope of the damage.

“It’s really eye-opening because it was totally widespread from the interstate all the way to Ober Gatlinburg, in Townsend to Cobbly Nob,” he said. “It was a widespread countywide event.”

Robbins said the additional crews from across the region will help for this second system expected Thursday. But, if their own home areas are also hit hard, they’ll be called back. “It depends on what happens to our neighbors as well if they get hit hard like we would, obviously they’re going to want those crews back,” he said.

So, he’s asking people in Sevier County to get prepared and stay patient while the crews and the entire community work through whatever mother nature throws our way.

“We’re at the mercy of what the weather is going to do and we can’t stop it we just have to persevere through it,” said Robbins.

“You kind of have to adapt you have to really adapt, and so it’s definitely mountain life,” added McKinney.

The Quality Inn in Kodak has cut down their rate for a hotel room to $50 plus tax. Usually, a room costs about $75. The front office manager there also said while they don’t normally allow pets, they will in these circumstances for a $10 fee.