Restoring power after widespread outages is a big job that involves more than simply throwing a switch or removing a tree from a line. It involves a huge coordination effort with possibly hundreds of linemen, tree trimmers and office personnel working in very dangerous situations. There is nothing routine when restoring power after a storm.
Although Coastal Electric is committed to restoring the electric power to all co-op accounts as safely and quickly as possible, our initial goal is to safely restore power to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible. In order to accomplish that, 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 the co-op to direct its resources (both labor and materials) to the areas where they are needed the most.
Repairs are first made to the co-op's large transmission lines which carry high-voltage electricity to our distribution system from generation stations. Lines such as these must be repaired first along with any damage to transmission substations. Transmission lines serve many thousands of accounts.
Next in the process of restoration of power are the distribution substations and their respective main feeder lines. The co-op has 12 substations on its system and there are over 2,000 miles of distribution and service lines which are routed from the substations. Main feeder lines are those that you normally see alongside a highway.
Individual tap lines are repaired next in the restoration process. Tap lines typically serve the fewest number of members.
Safety is our highest priority during any power restoration situation. Sometimes you will notice your lights going back off shortly after they have come back on. In some cases, it is necessary to remove power from an energized section in order to safely repair any damages or replace transformers or other line equipment. Most times the power will come back on once the repair is made. In other cases your power may go off because it is a legitimate outage. When in doubt, you can always call in to re-report the new outage.