Be Prepared for Summer Storms
June 19, 2020
Strong summer storms can often lead to power outages during the summer months. If you suspect a power outage, be sure to report it.
Stearns Electric Association works diligently to maintain consistent power quality and reliability for our members. However, with thousands of miles of power lines exposed to the elements, trees and small animals, power outages do occur. And when they do, it is important that members report an outage to the Co-op.
When members report an outage, dispatchers at Stearns Electric take the call and enter the meter location of the outage into the computer system. When members report power outages after-hours, their call is routed to Cooperative Response Center (CRC) and the same process occurs.
Our special software documents each outage and tracks the source of the problem. The more reports our Dispatch Center receives from members, the faster they can pin-down whether the outage effects single properties or an extensive area. Those reports help determine the possible cause of the outage and the information is relayed to the line crews.
Line workers head out to assess the outage as soon as they can in order to determine the issue and restore power as quickly and safely as possible. When responding to outages, Stearns Electric’s first priority is public safety. Crews are sent to remove any damaged or downed power lines from roadways first. After that, substation power is restored. Sometimes, service to hundreds or several thousand customers can be restored immediately by replacing a fuse on a substation transformer.
Next, the major distribution feeders are repaired. These are the lines that come out of a substation that have three wires resting on a cross arm. If energy cannot be distributed over these lines, your home cannot receive power. Tap lines are repaired next. Tap lines carry power to groups of homes from the distribution feeders. Finally, individual service lines are repaired.
After power is restored, line workers report the time and cause of the outage. Reoccurring outages in specific areas may be a sign of a faulty product, which the Co-op is able to assess with the outage data.
When members report an outage, it is helpful to know the name of the first person that shows up on the electric bill, the account number or the address of the service that is out of power. This allows Stearns Electric employees to speed up the process of locating an outage.
There is no way to know how long an outage will take to restore, so please remember that Stearns Electric will do everything we can to get your power restored as quickly and safelty as possible in the event of an outage.
WHAT TO DO IF THE LIGHTS GO OUT
Assess the Situation
Do you have power at some locations in your home? If so, the problem is likely a fuse or breaker. This may be a warning of overloaded wiring, a short in the wiring or a defective appliance.
Do your neighbors have power? Whether or not your neighbors have power can help us determine if it is an isolated outage or something larger.
Can you see anything outside your home that might have caused an outage? If you see anything like sparks, trees down in the area, a car in the ditch, a construction crew digging or anything suspicious that may have caused the problem, it is important for members to let Stearns Electric Association know. This information can be very helpful.
Report your Outage
Call us at (800) 962-0655 to report your outage or by logging into your SmartHub account. In SmartHub, click “Report an Issue/Inquiry,” select “Power Outage” and click “Continue.” You can send your current location to crews and/or add comments if you’d like. You must select “Send” in order to finish reporting your outage in SmartHub.
Once you’ve reported your outage, follow us on social media! We often post information during a major outage on our Facebook page and you can also keep tabs on the outage via our live outage map at www.stearnselectric.org.
We always appreciate your patience while crews work diligently and safely during power outages. Once we know about your outage, crews will be dispatched immediately so your power can be restored as quickly as possible.
July 11, 2020
When you turn on your light switch, the electricity needed in that moment must be produced at the same time….