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After an outage: VVEC’s power restoration plan OUTAGE RESTORATION


By Randy Riddle


We have come to expect that if we lose electric service, it will be restored within a few minutes XS WR D IHZ KRXUV DW PRVW %XW when a devastating event—a tornado, an ice storm or a snow storm—occurs and causes PDMRU GDPDJH WR D FR RS·V system, longer outages cannot be helped. Crews work long, hard hours restoring service, EXW LW·V D WDVN WKDW QHHGV WR EH done methodically to be done safely. Every electric cooperative 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 from the substations that can affect 200 to 1000 members, and continues out to tap lines which may affect 30 to 200 members, and then to individual service lines affecting MXVW RQH WR ÀYH PHPEHUV 99(&·V VWHSV IRU UHVWRULQJ outages are as follows: Step 1: All repairs start with the main line.


The substation is energized but a main distribution line is damaged near the substation, leaving most members without power. All repairs start with the main line. A large number of members will have power restored once the main line is À[HG $OO RWKHU UHSDLUV ZRXOG be pointless if this line is not UHVWRUHG ÀUVW Step 2: With the main line restored, the line crew can isolate other damage. With the main line restored


the line crew can isolate other damage and prioritize repairs. Though some repairs may be FORVHU À[LQJ WKH OLQH WKDW VHUYHV a subdivision down the road will get electric restored to a larger number of consumers more quickly.


Step 3: A smaller tap line is next on the list. A smaller tap line serving a number of homes is next on the list for the line crew. This move SUREDEO\ GRHVQ·W PDNH VRPH IRONV WRR KDSS\ 7KH\·YH VHHQ crews driving by their home and working right across the road. They see lights in the homes of DOO WKHLU QHLJKERUV EXW WKH\ GRQ·W KDYH SRZHU 7KDW·V EHFDXVH even though electricity is coming to their pole (that happened with WKH ÀUVW UHSDLU LQ 6WHS


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service line from their pole to their meter may be damaged. Individual repairs come after all distribution and tap lines are restored.


Step 4: Take care of individual repairs last. Only after the tap lines are repaired do crews start work on individual service lines. Crews may have been past these homes a few times and could have stopped to restore power DQ\ WLPH DIWHU WKH ÀUVW PDLQ OLQH was repaired and electricity was ÁRZLQJ WR WKH SROH QHDUE\ %XW LW·V QRW IDLU WR RWKHU PHPEHUV IRU D FUHZ WR VSHQG KRXUV À[LQJ one outage, when the crew can move down the road and restore power to dozens of homes in the same amount of time.


The easiest way to report a power outage is to login to SmartHub from a computer or smartphone.


'RQ·W ZDLW IRU VRPHRQH HOVH to report the outage because you may be the only member without power, and your report can help us determine where the problem is. The easiest way to report your outage is through SmartHub, either on a computer or on your smartphone. Using SmartHub will save the hassle of getting caught up in clogged phone lines because hundreds of members are trying to call in to a few phone lines at the same time.


If you have someone in your home who requires medical equipment, you should always have backup power or supplies. We have medical alerts all over our system. If your outage is one that requires individual repairs, it could still be toward the end of the power restoration period before electricity is restored to your home.


Randy Riddle serves as operations manager for VVEC.


July 2016 VVEC Power Circuit 3


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