Restoring power during widespread outages involves much more than flipping a switch or removing a fallen tree off a line. At each stage of the restoration process, First Electric crews work to restore power safely to the greatest number of our members in the shortest time possible.
Here are the steps we take when restoring power:
1. High-voltage Transmission Lines
Transmission towers and cables that supply power to transmission substations (and thousands of members) rarely fail. When damaged, though, these facilities must be repaired before other parts of the system can operate.
2. Distribution Substation
First Electric has 43 substations, each serving up to thousands of members. When a major outage occurs, line crews inspect the substation to determine if problems stem from transmission lines feeding into the substation or the substation itself or an issue down the line.
3. 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 members in communities or housing developments. When power is restored at this stage, all members served by this supply line could see the lights come on, as long as there is no problem farther down the line.
4. Tap Lines
If an outage persists, supply lines, also 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.
5. Individual Homes
If a home remains without power, the service line between a transformer and the home may need to be repaired. This can explain why you have no power when your neighbor does. This illustrates why it is important for you always to report an outage.
Sometimes an outage is caused by a problem with the service installation on your home, business or other building. First Electric can’t fix anything beyond our equipment, so a licensed electrician is needed in those cases.
Individual households may receive special attention if loss of electricity affects life support systems or poses another immediate danger. If you or a family member depends on life support, please call 800-489-7405 before an emergency arises. When widespread outages occur, First Electric crews will fix the problem as soon as possible.
Determining Estimated Time of Restoration
First, First Electric Cooperative personnel assess the damage to our infrastructure.
Then, we give our best estimate on when specific areas should have their power restored.
During events with large numbers of outages, multiple repairs at different locations on our electrical system may be required to restore your power. If that is the case, then you may see an ETOR for the repairs needed to the major infrastructure. After repairs are made to the major infrastructure, crews are assigned to smaller sections of lines to make any needed repairs. A new ETOR may be assigned to your specific outage or area depending on what the crew finds when they arrive on scene.
First Electric crews always work as safely and quickly as possible to restore your power. We make every effort to provide you with the best ETOR available during an outage. In some cases, your power may be restored sooner than the set ETOR, or a later ETOR may be assigned to your area or outage due to the extent of damage. First Electric asks for your patience during these restoration efforts.