Before the storm arrives, check to see that flashlights, emergency generator, battery operated radios and other equipment are in working order.
When the storm hits, turn off all appliances except for lights. This reduces the chance of overloading circuits when power is restored. If you are in the direct path of the storm, assume you will be without power for some time. And of course, stay away from any downed power lines. After the storm, crews will work around the clock to restore power, but their first concern is to restore service to emergency radios, hospitals, utilities, and transportation systems.
Call YEC immediately if you see sparking power lines, and call if your house is the only one on your block without power.
Power Restoration FAQ
Restoring power after widespread outages is a big job that involves more than simply throwing a switch or removing a tree from a line. The main goal is to safely restore power to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible. In order to accomplish this, the process begins with a damage assessment of the co-op’s lines and facilities by employees who have been specifically trained to accomplish those tasks. The assessment allows YEC to direct its resources (both labor and materials) to areas where they are needed the most.
If there is damage to power plants, switchyards or transmission lines, those facilities must be repaired by our power supplier before we can restore your service. Transmission lines seldom fail, but they can be damaged by storms. Tens of thousands of people could be served by a single high-voltage transmission line. When those facilities are working, problems in your co-op’s electric distribution system can be corrected.
Substations are repaired first. When a major outage occurs, the local distribution substations are checked first. If the problem can be corrected at the substation level, power may be restored to a large number of people. YEC has 24 substations on its system and there are over 3,500 miles of distribution lines which are routed from the substations.
Distribution lines are repaired. Main distribution supply lines are checked next, if the problem cannot be isolated at the substation. These supply lines carry electricity away from the substation to a group of members, such as a subdivision. When power is restored at this stage, all members served by this supply line could see the lights come on, as long as there is no problem farther down the line.
Individual services restored. The final supply lines, called service lines, carry power from the transformer on utility poles or underground transformers outside houses or other buildings. Line crews fix the remaining outages based on restoring service to the greatest number of members. Sometimes, damage will occur on the service line between your house and the transformer on the nearby pole. This may explain why you have no power when your neighbor does.
You should always call YEC when you experience an outage. This is especially important if you see lines or poles down, sparking, or potential hazards preventing you from leaving your property or blocking any roadways. Call YEC’s outage reporting system, Power Touch, at 1-866-374-1234.
We encourage members to use 1-866-374-1234 whenever they have an outage, but especially during widespread outages. This automated system can take many more calls than our employees. An outage notification with all the pertinent member and electric distribution system data needed to restore your power is recorded within seconds in our operations center. It is extremely important for YEC to have your up-to-date telephone number – the one associated with your co-op account. Having your correct phone number will allow YEC to dispatch crews as quickly as possible.
Call any time you have a power outage. We are here to serve you. Once you report the outage, try not to call YEC or the automated outage line again unless you have an emergency. Be assured our crews are doing everything possible to restore your power as soon as possible. Unnecessary calls prevent those who have not reported their outage from getting through to report their outage. Also, duplicate calls can generate multiple outage records for the same location.
If you have medical equipment necessary to sustain life or avoid severe medical complications, notify YEC at once – don’t wait for an emergency. The dispatch office keeps a list of such members so service restoration may be properly prioritized. Priority consideration is given to these households in the event of an interruption of service such as a severe storm. It’s important to note, however, that no one can guarantee service continually. If you use special medical equipment, you should make advance arrangements either for emergency backup power or to relocate to a hospital or other facility during emergencies.
Listen to emergency recommendations provided by lead agencies such as local emergency management, civil defense, Red Cross, or police. Follow their recommendations.
YEC does not de-energize facilities because of anticipated damage such as flooding, ice or high winds. The disconnect devices on electrical equipment remain energized until a storm causes them to operate as designed and shut off current.
It probably is because before service may be restored to you and your neighbors, work must be completed at another location.
There could be several reasons: Fuses or circuit breakers in your home could have tripped; trees could have fallen on your service; the transformer that serves you could have a blown fuse or other damage; the primary line could be de-energized because of damage; many YEC lines have more than one wire and your transformer may be the only one connected to the wire that is “dead”.
Once damage to major lines has been repaired, YEC will work on lines serving individuals. At that time, we will determine if an electrician should fix the damage or if we can. Generally speaking, YEC will repair problems up to the weatherhead on overhead service and up to the meter on underground service. Past these points, an electrician is needed.
You could have a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse in your home’s electric panel, resulting in partial service. If so, reset the breaker. You may also have a broken connector or wire at one of the service leads to your house. If so, call 1-866-374-1234.
You can’t! Consider all cables and wires energized, whether electrical, cable television or telephone. After a storm any wire can be energized if it falls or gets wrapped around an energized line, whether a few feet or a block away. If a line is in water, there is even more reason to be cautious. Consider it and the water energized.
Connecting a portable or recreational vehicle (RV) generator to home wiring can cause safety problems. Ideally, appliances should be directly plugged into a generator. If you must hook the generator to the main electric panel, it is very important to disconnect your home from YEC’s electrical system first. If not disconnected, power can flow from your generator into outside utility lines and kill or injure crews working on the lines – even some distance away. You could even injure a neighbor if power from your generator flows along common lines to another house.
When electric service is restored to your area, disconnect your generator before turning on power to your home. If you don’t, the generator can be damaged. When using a generator, make sure it has proper ventilation. It should only be operated outside. Remember the generator’s rated wattage is a function of the number of appliances it will power. The wattage of lights or other appliances run off the generator as a total should not exceed the rated wattage of the generator. The manufacturer’s recommendations must be followed for proper usage and load. If you have any doubts, consult a qualified electrician.
One of our top priorities will be to remove trees and debris that have damaged electrical equipment and are preventing service restoration. Members should not attempt to remove or trim foliage within 10 feet of a power line. If a tree or tree limbs have fallen on a power line or pulled it down, do not attempt to get close to the line. If the line is sparking, call YEC at 1-866-374-1234 and report a downed line.
Once your service is restored every effort will be made to keep it on. Keep in mind, however, that as we repair other parts of the system, some interruptions may be required. In addition, YEC works closely with county, city and state agencies. At their request, we may have to interrupt a circuit if there is a fire or some other emergency. And during ice storms, it is not uncommon for the weight of ice on the line or surrounding trees to cause power lines to break. If the storm continues, a crew may restore your power, and then, with the further accumulation of ice on the lines, your lines may break again.
No. Since YEC has no control over damage done to facilities during storms or other natural disasters, members at large could not be expected to pay for any individual member’s food that might spoil due to storm damage and resulting from electric service interruptions. Remember, electrical disturbances that cause you damage are likely to cause your cooperative damage too, but on a much larger scale. One lighting strike, for example, can cause equipment failure to your cooperative costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Therefore, we do all we can to reasonably protect the electric system. You must do your part by protecting your own equipment from any storm damage or loss of power.
No. YEC maintains and operates facilities in a manner calculated to provide safe and reliable service. During abnormal weather, we make every effort to provide continuous service, but cannot be responsible for complete or partial failure or interruption of service, or for fluctuations in voltage from causes beyond our control. Just prior to a storm, and during early stages of restoration, members may wish to turn off or limit use of electronically sensitive and/or nonessential appliances.
Overhead services are more exposed to ice, high winds and flying debris. Underground facilities are subject to flooding. Damage to an overhead transformer is often easier to find. Damage to a pad mounted transformer serving underground cable may not be readily visible. Underground lines are susceptible to damage from digging and trenching equipment. And the cost of installing and maintaining underground conductor over hundreds of miles of sparsely populated rural areas would result in an enormous increase in the cost of electricity to you.
YEC’s service territory includes some 3,500 miles of electrical distribution line in a four county region. Restoration time, therefore, depends to a large degree on how many different lines are significantly damaged. Severe damage to transmission systems would have the most disabling effect on restoration efforts.
YEC works hard to update the local news media on the overall progress of restoration efforts affecting the area. YEC issues information releases to the news media regarding restoration progress during major power outages. Listening to the radio, or checking YEC’s website via battery-operated web devices are the best ways for you to be informed of storm restoration progress. Be sure to have an emergency kit, equipped with a battery-operated radio and fresh batteries, so you’re ready in case of a major power outage.
If damage from a storm exceeds our capability to restore service in a reasonable time, we will request crews from other cooperatives. Electric cooperatives work together to assist one another in times of need. In areas not affected by the storm, only a minimum crew will be left to handle calls. Members should expect routine service request calls such as security light repairs or meter connects to be delayed due to the storm.
Before calling to report an outage:
- Check all circuit breakers or fuses to help determine if your service outage might be the result of a household problem.
- Call a licensed electrician if you have significant water damage in your home that might make it unsafe or if the meter outside your home or any of the piping and wires on the wall of your home looked damaged.