Our electric distribution system is constructed with protective devices such as fuses and circuit breakers. These confine the outage to specific areas, limiting the number of consumers affected by the power interruption.
For example, if a tree falls on a tap line only that line would be without service. Other consumers serviced from the main distribution line would still have service, although their lights may blink momentarily.
When electricity goes out, most of us expect power will be restored within a few hours. But when a major storm causes widespread damage, longer outages may result. Co-op line crews work long, hard hours to restore service safely to the greatest number of consumers in the shortest time possible.
Here’s What’s Going on if You Find Yourself in the Dark
High-Voltage Transmission Lines
- Transmission towers and cables that supply power to transmission substations (and thousands of members) rarely fail
- But when damaged, these facilities must be repaired before other parts of the system can operate
- Each substation serves hundreds or thousands of consumers
- When a major outage occurs, line crews inspect substations to determine if problems stem from transmission lines feeding into the substation, the substation itself, or if problems exist down the line
Main Distribution Lines
- If the problem cannot be isolated at a distribution substation, distribution lines are checked
- These lines carry power to large groups of consumers in communities or housing developments
- If local outages persist, supply lines, called tap lines, are inspected
- These lines deliver power to transformers, either mounted on poles or placed on pads for underground service, outside businesses, schools, and homes
- If your home remains without power, the service line between a transformer and your residence may need to be repaired
- Always call to report an outage to help line crews isolate local issues
Power Up graphic credit: Funnel Inc.