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How co-ops prioritize repairs after a major storm
Whenever the electricity goes out, we’ve come to expect service will be restored within a few hours at most. But when a major thunderstorm or tornadoes cause widespread damage, longer outages cannot be helped. Line crews work long, hard hours restoring service, but it’s a task that needs to be done methodically to be done safely.
Here’s a refresher course on how electric cooperatives go about the task of restoring service after severe storms.
Every co-op follows a basic principle when it comes to restoring power: priority goes to the lines that will get the most people back in service the quickest. This usually begins with main lines and continues out to tap lines and then to individual service lines.
People on life-supporting medical equipment need to have a plan in place to accommodate these individuals in the event the outage is an extended outage. You should be prepared to move the individuals to a place that has power until power is restored to the residence. Remember, the best way to make your family and home safer is to be preparedbefore disaster happens.
Step 1: All repairs start with the main line. A large number of consumers down the line will have power returned once the main line is fixed.
Step 2: With the main line now fixed (now shown in red), the electric cooperative line crew can better isolate other damage and prioritize repairs.
Step 3: Moving back down the road, the crew stops by this intersection to fix a damaged tap line. This repair restores power to the homes (shown with orange arrows) along this stretch of line.
Step 4: Another tap line serving a number of homes and a farm on the hill is next on the list for this hard-working line crew.
Step 5: By now, the folks in the blue house probably are wondering “what gives?” They see lights in the homes of their neighbors; they’ve seen electric cooperative crews going by their home and working right across the road. And still they have no power!Electricity is coming to the pole outside the blue home (that happened with the first repair in Step 1), but the service line from the pole to their home is damaged. Repairs like these to individual homes come after crews have performed all the larger fixes.