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Page 4


NORTHWESTERN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.


A spotter’s guide to distribution poles Continued from page 4.


—from 55 feet to more than 100 feet—with the conductors higher off the ground. Some large transmis- sion lines use steel poles and tower structures.


In cases where a pole carries both transmission and distribution lines, the transmission lines will run above distribution lines. An easy rule to follow is the lower the voltage of the line, the lower it is on the pole.


Four Common Distribution Devices Transformers are something most people can already spot—they’re hefty metal cylinders that hang off poles. The transformer that connects your home to a distribution line low- ers the distribution voltage to what you need in your house—generally 120 volts for your outlets and 240 volts for your air conditioner and clothes dryer. Look at the top of a transformer and you’ll see bush- ings—ceramic projections with


several disks running around the out- side. On the inside of bushings are metal conductors; the outsides are insulators, so that when they attach to a transformer the metal casing doesn’t become electrically charged. Capacitors look somewhat like transformers, with bushings on top,  While transformers change voltage, capacitors improve the power factor on the utility lines—they prevent power from being wasted and help boost the voltage on long rural distri- bution lines.


Reclosers protect lines and con- sumers from short circuits. For ex- ample, if a tree branch touches a line,  tree, burning it and overheating the wire. Eventually, this will result in a fault that causes a protective device, like a fuse or (12706001) circuit breaker, to operate and interrupt the power. Circuit breakers “open”


the circuit, cutting off the power. Because many shorts correct them- selves in a few seconds—as the high current will usually burn a tree limb away from the line—most modern circuit breakers have a mechanism that allows them to reclose a moment later (hence the name recloser). Fuses are also designed to protect lines and homes from short circuits. But fuses are one-shot devices—a fault, like the tree branch described above, on the load side of the fuse will cause them to burn out. High- voltage fuses look like a bar offset from the pole by one or more insula- tors. When a fuse blows, linework-   refuse the line to restore power. These four devices are the most common on distribution poles. Once you know what they look like, you’ll realize you’ve been seeing them every day for years.


Enroll your child in Watts Up Kid’s Camp Free summer camp for children of Northwestern Electric Cooperative members


orthwestern Electric Coopera- tive’s Watts Up Kids Camp is a camp for 1st through 3rd graders that will be held at our main headquarters in Woodward on Aug. 1 & 2. Camp hours are 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The camp is free for the children of NWEC members. The three-hour session includes variety of learning tools, games and activities to help kids learn about electricity, where it comes from and how to be safe around it.  form and return it by July 15. For more details, call Jonna at 256.7425 or 800.375.7423. Space is limited 


N Watts Up Kid’s Camp Select One: _____ Wed., Aug. 1 _____Thurs., Aug. 2


Students Name (Print)_________________________________________ Age __________ Grade____________ T-shirt size_______________ Parent Name________________________________________________ Address____________________________________________________ City ________________________ State________ Zip ___________ Home Phone (_____) ______ - __________ Work Phone (_____) ______ - __________ Cell Phone (_____) ______ - __________


Please mail form to: Jonna Hensley Northwestern Electric Cooperative P.O. Box 2707, Woodward, OK 73802


July 2012


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