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.