Don’t be in the dark because of a power outage

Reasons for a loss of power can vary widely

Posted on Mar 29 2021 in Harrison REMC
Power pole in a storm

Power outages are never convenient. Sometimes, it’s no mystery why we are left in the dark, like when lightning and thunder rattle windows and walls. Other times, an outage may come out of the blue.

“Electric cooperatives never want to leave consumers in the dark. But unfortunately, acts of Mother Nature and incidents involving human interactions cannot be avoided,” said Justin Swarens, engineering and operations manager. “And when electric cooperatives perform maintenance or construction, they plan for as little disruption as possible.”

The length of time it takes to restore power will vary by the cause. We share outage information through social media platforms. If you find yourself without power, here are some of the most common causes your electric utility will be facing.


The most common cause for power outages is Mother Nature. Ice, snow and high winds all can conspire to cause widespread damage. Extremely hot weather can cause power outages, too, as unusually high demand can overburden transformers and other electrical equipment causing them to fail. Lightning strikes can cause major damage to electrical equipment, wires and poles.


During high winds, snow and ice, tree limbs can snap or entire trees can topple onto power lines.


A vehicle hitting a utility pole can break the pole and knock lines from their overhead perch. Excavation work can disturb buried electric service lines causing an outage.


Squirrels, snakes and other small animals and birds can climb on poles and electrical equipment which may cause a short circuit or equipment to shut down.


People shooting at insulators and transformers is a sad cause for power outages in rural areas. Thieves also steal copper wire and other pieces of electrical equipment which can cause outages. Both acts of vandalism can be extremely costly and deadly.

Planned outages

If a cooperative is performing maintenance or upgrading its equipment, it may need to temporarily turn off the power. Most electric cooperatives will try to notify affected consumers in advance of a planned outage.

If you experience an outage, alert your cooperative. While most cooperatives have upgraded to digital systems that automatically detect outages, others still rely on notification from their customers before they come out to investigate the cause and restore power.