Why is my power out?

Posted on May 30 2022 in Marshall County REMC
Dave Lewallen

Our last large outage in April had a lot of members wondering “Why is my power out when it’s sunny and nice outside?”  We all anticipate our lights might go out when a big storm rolls through, but the reality is there are many factors that cause outages even when the weather is perfect. To give you a better perspective, here are some common reasons you may have a power outage on a calm and sunny day. 

EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTIONS: Just like the vehicle you drive every day; our system is in constant use and with wear and tear it sometimes needs maintenance or malfunctions occur. This was the case during our large outage in April. A mechanical failure caused an outage at the substation causing several hundred members to lose power. 

ANIMALS: It’s safe to say that our linemen’s least favorite animal is the squirrel. It may be cute, but it is the most common animal on our system to cause outages. Large birds, snakes and other animals are also notorious for the unplanned outage. When an animal makes contact between two energized lines or pieces of equipment, it creates a fault, causing an arc that can knock out your power.

AUTO ACCIDENTS: Vehicles hitting poles, farm equipment taking out lines or someone digging through an underground line are reasons we’ve had unexpected outages. Just remember, if your vehicle comes in contact with a power line, stay in your vehicle and call 911.  

FALLEN TREES: It doesn’t have to be a rainy, windy day for tree limbs to fall on a power line causing an outage.  There may be a dead or damaged tree limb just waiting to fall, especially if there has recently been a storm in the area. If you see a limb hanging on the line, do NOT try to remove it yourself.  Call Marshall County REMC and we will have our linemen safely remove the limb or branch with the proper tools.

EXTREME TEMPERATURES: On days when the temperature is below zero or extremely hot, everyone’s air conditioner or heater may be working overtime which can cause our system to overload. This is why we have programs in place like PowerShift®, which helps us shed load during peak demand.

PLANNED OUTAGES: Occasionally, Marshall County REMC will need to perform maintenance in your area that may result in your power being shut off for a short period of time. If the planned outage is longer than two hours, you’ll receive a courtesy call allowing you to make arrangements if needed. 

Although we are proactive in trying to prevent these situations from happening, Mother Nature takes its course, that squirrel finds its way into a transformer, or a vehicle collides with a pole. No matter the cause, you can rest assured that our linemen will get your power back on as quickly and safely as possible!