On the blink?

What’s the deal with my lights?

Posted on Dec 26 2017 in Kankakee Valley REMC

You’re watching TV or reading a good novel when … what was that? Is something wrong with your eyes? No, the lights just blinked. And it just blinked again. It’s not like there’s a storm outside — in fact, the weather is beautiful. Another blink. Is there something wrong with the electricity?

One of the complaints we at the REMC hear most often from members is about those unexpected blinks when there is a momentary interruption in power. That blinking can be caused by all sorts of things; many of which are outside our control. A squirrel climbing near a power line, car accidents and equipment failure are just a few of the possible causes. Sometimes, the problem is on the transmission line that feeds electricity to our substation that serves you.

We understand they can be annoying but the blinks are likely safety devices on the lines called reclosers or breakers. They are designed to momentarily interrupt the power if a fault occurs. This momentary interruption allows a split second of time for the cause of the fault to hopefully clear itself. If a line fuse was to be used in place of the recloser/breaker and a fault occurred, it would open, and you would be without power until a crew responded to the outage and replaced the fuse. If the fault is able to clear itself and the breaker can successfully re-energize the line, you won’t be without power for an extended period of time and might just have to reset a clock or two.

Our crews work hard to find and eliminate the causes, but sometimes the minor annoyance is actually the power line protecting itself from a power surge that could damage your TV, computer or other vulnerable electronics.