Crews Work Quickly, Safely When Storms Occur

April 9, 2021

Safely delivering reliable, consistent electricity to our members is our mission at Stearns Electric Association. But when spring and summer storms strike, outages can occur that are unfortunately out of our control. When the lights go out, Stearns Electric crews spring to action. We work closely with Great River Energy, our wholesale electric supplier, to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

Every year in April we recognize Severe Weather Awareness Week. Now is a good time to refresh your knowledge on what to do if your power goes out and learn how your power is restored. Some outage causes are easy to identify and outages are very brief for members. But when severe weather leaves widespread damage, outage causes can be harder to repair and can last longer.

At the same time homeowners start gathering flashlights, crews of line workers are dispatched to restore power as quickly as possible.

We encourage you to plan ahead and prepare for potential power outages:

  • Create an emergency kit with food, supplies and flashlights
  • Have a place to store food safely
  • Know how to check breakers and fuses during a power outage
  • Test your generator if you have one available

Our line crews are on call 24-7-365 to respond to outages. When members report an outage, dispatchers at Stearns Electric usually take the call and enter the meter location of the outage into our computer system. The more reports our dispatch center receives, the faster they can pinpoint whether the outage effects single properties or a larger area.

Line workers head out to assess the situation as soon as they can to determine the outage cause and identify a solution. When we work to restore power, safety is always the top priority. Crews give immediate attention to dangerous situations, such as downed power lines on roadways or streets. Typically, local police or fire station personnel are called to secure the area until electric cooperative employees can restore power.

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, you 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.

Watch a video on power restoration here, courtesy of Great River Energy.

When members report power outages after-hours, their call is routed to Cooperative Response Center (CRC) and the same process occurs.

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 fast as possible.