Let me paint a picture. You are sitting at home, watching your favorite show or team, and just as it gets to the good part — BANG! The lights go out.
You frantically pound the button on the remote, hoping you accidentally turned off the TV, only to realize the light in the room is off as well. You run to the breaker box and all is good there, so you run outside, and sure enough, your meter is blank. You call PPEC and hear a friendly voice on the other end of the line say, “Unfortunately, there has been a (insert emergency situation here) and crews are en route to make repairs.” Sighing deeply, you resign yourself to finding out on Facebook who won “America’s Got Talent” or the big game, instead of seeing it for yourself.
We understand the frustration with the scenario above, and many others that go along with an outage. While we at PPEC work tirelessly to protect our system from outages, there are times when human error, infrastructure failure, animal interference or Mother Nature has other ideas.
What you may not understand is why some of those outages actually mean our system is working EXACTLY as we designed it — and for good reason. Sometimes, even for lifesaving reasons.
FAULTS PREVENT DAMAGE, EXTENDED OUTAGES AND FIRES
The electrical circuit feeding your home is designed to protect itself, much the same as the breakers in your home. When a circuit breaker sees an overload, it will open to protect itself and avoid a bigger issue taking longer to repair.
When your lights blink a few times in a row, that is the same circuit breaker “turning off and on” to try and clear a fault. This fault could be the result of a tree or a critter on the line and the “off and on” is designed to keep from burning the wire down or destroying electrical equipment. Fires can be started if faults aren’t cleared, which can lead to greater damage of trees, property or homes.
We know that having to reset your clocks after those blinks is annoying, but rest assured that our system is designed this way to avoid equipment failure that would lead to an even longer outage.
DE-ENERGIZED LINES SAVE LIVES DURING VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
Vehicle accidents are another common source of outages. Somehow, despite all the open space on the road, vehicles do hit our poles, tearing down wires in the process. Whether it is a car, truck, tractor or — recently — a helicopter, our system is designed to de-energize a line in such instances to protect the lives of those around the accident site. When the system operates correctly, the electric lines will “turn off” to lessen the danger of electrical contact to the victims, passersby and first responders.
Having said that, there are times when conditions prohibit the system from operating as designed, so remember to ALWAYS STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED POWER LINES! Should you see an accident involving a utility pole, wires down or a critter on top of a pole, please call the office at 800-686-2357 to report the issue so a lineworker will be dispatched to make the needed repairs.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We understand that outages are an inconvenience, and we strive to keep your electricity flowing uninterrupted 24/7/365. However, we hope you now understand that there are times when outages are not a bad thing and could save a life or property belonging to our members. A dark house doesn’t always mean something went wrong; it could mean something went right to prevent an even bigger issue.
Now, if anyone knows who won the game, please keep it to yourself so I can watch the rerun on ESPN!