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170,000 local customers without power

By Staff | Sep 11, 2017

LCEC has 170,000 customers without power and some areas were hit hard and it could take weeks to restore, co-op officials said Monday, adding damage assessment is underway and restoration estimates are not possible until the full impact is known.

So what happens when the lights go out?

“After LCEC restores power to critical community services like hospitals and fire departments, our main goal is to restore power to the greatest number of customers in the shortest amount of time,” LCEC said in the prepared statement. “A detailed plan helps LCEC prioritize what to do, which includes communicating to restoration crews and the public to improve efficiency and maintain public safety.”

In general, the following steps occur, officials said.

While the storm was approaching, local repair crews were put on standby so they can respond quickly to problems while it was safe to work. They were ready to begin restoration as soon as the storm passed. Once damage is assessed utilities have a better idea of restoration times.

The first day is for damage assessment to determine a planned safe and quick restoration and clear the area of downed power lines so that other services can operate.

The first priority is to repair downed transmission lines because these high-voltage lines supply power from a generating plant to one or more distribution substations and serve tens of thousands of customers.

Substations (electrical facilities that contain equipment for switching or regulating the voltage of electricity) are repaired next. These substations are located throughout the LCEC service territory, each serving thousands of customers.

Main distribution lines carry power from the substation. Each line may serve hundreds of consumers. When the problem is corrected at this stage, all customers served by the distribution line will have power restored.

Tap lines are electric feeder lines with limited capacity that run from a main distribution line to transformer poles or underground transformers outside of buildings and throughout neighborhoods. Because these lines serve a few customers, they have lower priority. Even if these lines are not damaged, the customer will still be without power until the main line is repaired.

Individual service lines run from the transformer to a building’s meter. If this line is damaged, it may explain why your neighbor has power and you do not. This type of damage has the lowest priority since the line only serves one customer.

Tips for Customers

There are a variety of things a customer can do to minimize the impact of a power outage before, during, and after the event, LCEC officials said:

Always have a backup generator ready in case of an outage; generators should not be connected to the breaker box unless the proper isolation equipment is installed.

If you see a downed line, stay away from it and call 911 or report it at www.lcec.net. If a power line contacts your car, stay in the vehicle and keep others away. Never drive over downed power lines.

Keep phone lines open for emergencies. We are aware of the outages. Assessment teams are directing repair crews once they locate damage.

Damage to meters or other facility equipment may require repair before reconnection to the grid.

Crews may be working in your area. Slow down and give the line crews plenty of room when you see a utility warning sign. Please do not disrupt their work unless it is urgent. Rest assured they are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore your power.

Just because you don’t see crews in your area doesn’t mean we aren’t working. We repair the source first and then follow repairs until it reaches your home.

Source: LCEC