Restoring service after a major storm...
A step-by-step process to restore power quickly and safely
We work hard to provide high quality, reliable electric service to our members; however, no utility can guarantee uninterrupted power. When an outage does occur, we focus on restoring service interruptions as quickly and efficiently as possible without sacrificing safety. Outages stem from a variety of causes: animals contacting the line and shorting out equipment; tree limbs hitting the line; underground cable cuts; vehicles striking poles; equipment failures; as well as inclement weather conditions and major storms. Damage following a major storm typically occurs at numerous points in the distribution system and the goal is to systematically get the power back on to everyone in a quick and safe manner. Here’s how it works:
When a wide spread outage occurs, the first location the repair crews check is the transmission line and substation. If the transmission line or substation is off, no one connected to that substation will have power. By making repairs here first, most consumers’ power will be restored quickly.
Next, the crews begin patrolling and repairing the main distribution lines, called feeder lines. These are the lines coming out of the substation to serve homes and businesses. Repairing the feeder lines will restore service to the members that receive power directly from the main lines. Members served by a tap line, a line that takes off from the main, or feeder line, will have their power restored at this time, if there was no damage to their tap line. If the repair crew discovers the main line is off due to problems on a tap line, such as a tree down on lines, the repair crew may sectionalize the tap line. This means they will disconnect it from the main line temporarily, in order to restore power to the feeder line.
If this has been your experience, you may have thought that the repair crew looked at your problem, and either didn't find it, or ignored it, and left. What they were actually doing was systematically repairing and restoring service to the entire area in the safest and most efficient manner. Chances are that even if they had repaired your tap line, your power would still not have been restored if the main line was off.
Normally, the last members to receive power are those who suffered damage to their own electric equipment requiring the services of an electrical contractor, before power can be restored. After restoration of the feeder lines, repair crews concentrate on the tap lines. Following that, individual services are repaired, transformers replaced, etc. This process continues systematically until everyone whose power can be restored has electrical power.
If a storm strikes and you lose power, SECO has staff on hand 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365 days a year to take your call. Service technicians are on call to handle your emergency electric service needs whenever problems arise. To report an outage by phone, call 1-800-SECO-141 (1-800-732-6141) or your local SECO office and follow the prompts. To report an outage online go to SECO's Storm Center.
Page last updated: October 29, 2012