Restoring power after a major outage is an enormous undertaking that involves much more than simply throwing a switch or removing a tree from a line. For a graphic representation of the restoration process, see our How Power is Restored (PDF).
The main goal is to safely restore power to the greatest number of customers in the shortest time possible. Keep in mind that if there is damage to power plants, switchyards, or transmission lines, those facilities must be repaired by our power supplier before we can restore your service.
Transmission lines seldom fail, but they can be damaged by storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Tens of thousands of people could be served by a single high-voltage transmission line.
When those facilities are working, problems in your co-op’s electric distribution system can be corrected.
Steps to Restoring Power
3 primary areas of our system must be addressed.
Substations are Repaired First
A co-op may have several local distribution substations, each serving thousands of consumers. When a major outage occurs, the local distribution substations are checked first. If the problem can be corrected at the substation level, power may be restored to a large number of people.
Distribution Lines are Repaired
Main distribution supply lines are checked next, if the problem cannot be isolated at the substation. These supply lines carry electricity away from the substation to a group of customers, such as a subdivision. When power is restored at this stage, all consumers served by this supply line could see the lights come on, as long as there is no problem further down the line.
Individual Services are Restored
The final supply lines, called service lines, carry power from the transformer on utility poles or underground transformers outside houses or other buildings. Line crews fix the remaining outages based on restoring service to the greatest number of consumers.
Sometimes, damage will occur on the service line between your house and the transformer on the nearby pole. This may explain why you have no power when your neighbor does. Your co-op needs to know if you have an outage here, so a service crew can repair it.
Contact an Electrician
If there is damage to the equipment where the service drop enters your home, you may need to get an electrician to repair it before the co-op can safely restore your service.
The weatherhead, where service lines enter the conduit leading to your home’s electric meter, is the responsibility of the homeowner. So are the conduit and the meter base. The co-op can replace or repair damaged meters or service lines, but if you see damage to your home’s weatherhead, conduit, or meter base, contact an electrician immediately to get it repaired.