What our members see during an unplanned power outage is their power shutting off and then the power coming back on. But what happens behind the scenes while the power is anticipated to come back on? The short answer – a lot!
Restoring power after a major outage is a big job that involves much more than simply re-fusing a switch or replacing a breaker. The major cause of outages is damage caused by lightning, wind, and fallen trees. To reduce the risk of fallen trees on lines, Battle River Power Coop has a Vegetation Management Program. (https://www.brpower.coop/maintenance-safety/vegetation-management/).
If you experience an outage check and reset your breaker at the pole. If that does not resolve the problem, call our toll-free number 1.877.428.3972 and provide your land location and account number with as much detail as possible. Regardless of day or time, your report and information are relayed to the Powerline Technician assigned to your area. If you are in an area where you can see your neighbours are without power, don’t assume they reported the outage – please make a call to report your situation. Without our members calling in, we do not know that there is an outage. This phone line is available all day, every day and our staff are more than happy to receive your call!
The main goal is to restore power safely to members in the shortest amount of time. The process to restoring power in an unplanned power outage are:
- When a member calls in an outage to our office or dispatch service, staff immediately check the map to see what Powerline Technician’s (PLT) area it is and they are notified of the outage. The PLT assesses the situation and notifies dispatch. Depending on where the outage is located and how long it will take the PLT to get to the outage, it could be minutes to a couple of hours.
- The initial assessment is completed by one PLT patrolling as much line as needed in a strategic manner until the problem is found (bird, weather, cattle rubbing on guy wires or poles, etc.) and then a decision is made as to what resources are needed to make the repairs. All outages are different and have different problems.
Rain and electrical storms can cause anything from a blown fuse, blown transformer, burnt poles, trees on the line, or broken poles. In the event of inclement weather, additional field personnel are dispatched to assist in power restoration along with contractors depending on the severity of the storm.
- Substations transform voltage from high to low. Supply lines carry electricity away from substations to our members. When power is restored at this stage, all consumers served by this supply line could see lights come on, if there are no further problems down the line.
- Powerline Technicians will also check the tap lines (lines that tap off the main line) that carry power to the utility poles or underground transformers outside houses or other buildings.
- Sometimes damages can occur on the secondary side (lines installed by members with their own electrician) of the transformer pole which can explain why you have no power and your neighbor does. PLTs will not work on the secondary side however we can check all connections on the transformer pole to make sure nothing has come loose. If the members do not call in saying the power is still out, we have no way of knowing there is an outage.
- Battle River Power Coop provides service within an intermingled distribution system. This means we do not own/operate all the lines in our service area and are unable to service another utility company’s lines. This sometimes means that our PLTs will respond to the call but are not able to restore the power. If it is found that another utility company’s power is out our PLT will then notify the proper personnel and update our answering service as to what the cause is.
- Battle River Power Coop notifies members by posting details on our website (brpower.coop), posting information on our social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter).
If you have already spoken to our staff about an unplanned power outage, please wait 2 hours before calling again to give our staff time to address everyone’s concerns. We understand that members want to know when the power will be restored and once our technician has arrived on site and done a thorough patrol, we will give the most accurate estimated time of restoring power.