When we lose power, we expect it to be restored quickly. However, when a major weather event causes several, widespread power outages, longer restoration times may be the reality.
It's much more than just flipping a switch. Our line crews will work around the clock to remove debris from power lines and right-of-ways, setting new poles, and rebuilding the power delivery infrastructure. Sometimes, this requires the assistance of other highly-trained line workers from other cooperatives who travel in and lend a helping hand through mutual aid.
In any case, the restoration of a large power outage is an arduous process that must be carried out methodically in order to ensure it's done safely.
Regardless of who you receive electric service from, every utility uses the same basic principle when it comes to restoring power— priority is given to the lines that get the most consumers back in service the quickest. The order of repair is below:
- Transmission Lines: These high voltage lines carry electricity from generating plants to substations (or between substations). Since thousands of people can be served by one transmission line, damage needs to be repaired here first.
- Substations: These facilities contain equipment that switch or regulate voltage of electricity. They lower the voltage from transmission lines so the electricity can be transmitted through the distribution lines. Problems within substations can affect thousands of members.
- Main Distribution Lines: These are the power lines you see along roadways. They carry electricity from the substations to a groups of consumers— like towns or developments.
- Tap Lines: These lines run from the main distribution lines to utility poles and underground transformers outside houses or buildings.
- Individual Service: These lines run from the transformer on the pole along the road or street or underground box to the consumer's electric meter on the side of the home or business.
Even after a major weather event, you should still call in or use the OEC Mobile app to report your outage. These reports populate into our automated outage management system and help us determine where the cause of the outage might be located on our lines. This helps our linemen located the issue, isolate it, and restore your power quicker.
Following a storm with widespread damage and long-than-usual power outages, it may be tempting to question a line worker about the damage and try to see what they are doing on-site. For the sake of your safety, as well as that of our linemen, we ask that you stay away from the job site and allow them to concentrate on making repairs.
The best way to keep stay informed and to keep Owen Electric informed is to report your power outage as soon as possible after it occurs by calling (800) 372-7612, or by using your OEC Mobile app. Make sure we know if a loss of power affects life support systems or could cause any additional threat to your family's health or safety. While you should let us know this during an outage, please inform us when initially signing up for service so that we can keep that information on file.