Have you ever wondered how our crews go about repairing major damage to our system? If so, you're not alone. Often times members become angry when a neighbor gets power restored before they do and don't understand why they should have to wait. Click here for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions during widespread outages that may be caused by severe weather.
Though frustrating, there is a method to our madness. Our goal is to restore power as quickly as possible to as many as possible. In order to achieve this, we use a three tiered system of repairs.
When a major outage occurs, we immediately begin receiving calls from our members. Each outage report is logged into our computer system and tracked. When this information is matched up with the information from our electrical grid monitoring system, we are then able to determine where the most severe damage has occurred and prioritize repairs.
If you are ever caught in an outage, here is what you should do:
- Call your Electric Co-op to report the outage. Be sure to have your account number or map location number ready, which can be found on your billing statement. Once we receive your report, your location is logged into our computer system for repair.
- Please be patient if the lines are busy. During major outages, our telephone lines are overloaded with members calling to report their situation. We never take the phones off of the hook, and answer calls 24 hours a day. All calls are answered in the order they are received.
- If you have special needs that require electricity for your well being, for example life support systems, please notify us of your circumstance either prior to or immediately following an outage. We will register this information with our dispatch department and mark your account for priority repairs. Click here to see our outage restoration proceedures.
Other helpful tips during outages
- Tune into a local radio station for weather updates.
- Keep a supply of blankets, flashlights, candles, spare batteries, snacks and a radio for severe weather situations.
- Keeping your freezer closed will preserve its contents for 24-48 hours, depending on how much food is stored and the size of the unit.
- Wrap blankets around your refrigerator or freezer to keep food cold.
- In cold weather, close doors, windows, and curtains to save heat. Select one room to occupy and make sure it is properly ventilated. Use blankets to insulate your windows. Also, keep some non-perishable food and drink items available for extended outage situations such as ice storms.
KEEP AWAY FROM DOWNED POWER LINES! Downed lines are not insulated with protective coating. These lines could be live and cause serious injury or death if touched or approached. Do not attempt to repair the line. Instead, wait for an Electric Co-op crew to arrive and make repairs.
How do electric cooperatives prioritize repairs after a major storm? Whenever the electricity goes out, we’ve come to expect service will be restored within a few hours at most. But when a major ice storm or tornadoes cause widespread damage, longer outages cannot be helped. Line crews work long, hard hours restoring service, but it’s a task that needs to be done methodically to be done safely.
Here’s a refresher course on how electric cooperatives go about the task of restoring service after severe storms. Every co-op follows a basic principle when it comes to restoring power: priority goes to the lines that will get the most people back in service the quickest. This usually begins with main lines and continues out to tap lines and then to individual service lines.
Exceptions are made for people on life-supporting medical equipment. Notify your co-op immediately if someone in your family uses such equipment, and always have a backup generator ready.
Watch a short video on Power Restoration
Scroll down the page to read about Power Restoration
A big storm has just hit the countryside! What happens next?
In this simplified diagram, most of the countryside is in the dark. Fortunately, the substation serving the area is energized. It’s receiving power from the transmission lines, shown in red. But a main distribution line from the substation to most of the area is damaged, leaving most of the consumers in this area without power.
All repairs start with the main line. A large number of consumers down the line will have power returned once the main line is fixed.
With the main line now fixed (now shown in red), the electric cooperative line crew can better isolate other damage and prioritize repairs.
Though a couple of repairs were closer, fixing the line into this subdivision down the road will get many more consumers on faster.
Moving back down the road, the crew stops by this intersection to fix a damaged tap line. This repair restores power to the homes (shown with orange arrows) along this stretch of line
Another tap line serving a number of homes and a farm on the hill is next on the list for this hard-working line crew.
By now, the folks in the blue house probably are wondering “what gives?” They see lights in the homes of their neighbors; they’ve seen electric cooperative crews going by their home and working right across the road. And still they have no power! Electricity is coming to the pole outside the blue home (that happened with the first repair in Step 1), but the service line from the pole to their home is damaged. Repairs like these to individual homes come after crews have performed all the larger fixes.
Finally, all power is restored to the area.
Please note: Our line crew may need to come out in the following days and weeks to make long-term repairs and rebuild sections of line that were severely damaged by the storm. This might mean you will find blinking clocks when you get home from work or be notified of planned short-term power outages. It might also mean tree-trimming crews will be in the area to make sure rights-of-way are clear of overhanging tree branches. Wind and ice storms can topple trees into power lines which account for many of the outages in wooded areas. When you see the orange diamond-shaped “Utility Work Ahead” or similar warning signs along the road, be sure to slow down and give the line crews plenty of room. They might just be working on the power line that powers your home. If you ever have questions about outages and repairs, be sure to call your our office.