Getting Cuivre River Members Back On Line
If a major storm hit Cuivre River Electric Cooperative's system, here's a simplified look at how we would prioritize repairs and restore electric service.
As members of a cooperative, we have come to expect that if we lose electric service it will be restored within a few hours at most. But when a devastating event, like a tornado, ice or snow storm causes major damage to our electric distribution system, longer outages are unavoidable.
Crews work long, hard hours restoring service, but this task needs to be done methodically to be done safely.
Electric cooperatives follow a basic principle when it comes to restoring power: priority goes to the lines that will get the most people back in service and to critical facilities. This usually begins at the substation (maintained by Central Electric Power Cooperative) with main feeder lines that can affect 300-3,000 members. Work continues out to tap lines, which may affect 20-200 members, and then to individual service lines affecting just 1-5 members.
Step 1: The substation is energized but a main line is damaged nearby. Hundreds of members are without power. All repairs start with the main line. Many homes will receive power once the main line is fixed. All other repairs are ineffective until this line is restored, as it feeds all the other lines.
Step 2: With the main line restored, the line crew can isolate other damage and prioritize repairs. Although a couple of repairs were closer, fixing the line that serves the subdivision down the road will get a larger number of consumers on more quickly.
Step 3: Moving back down the road, fixing this tap line will restore electricity to the two homes in the picture and other homes down the street that are not pictured.
Step 4: A smaller tap line serving a number of homes and the farm on the hill is next on the list for the line crew. The move probably doesn't make the family in the single house too happy. They've seen the crew driving by their home and working right across the road. They see lights in homes of all their neighbors but they still don't have power. Even though electricity is coming to their pole (that happened with the first repair in Step 1), the service line from their pole to their meter is damaged. Individual repairs are made after all distribution and tap lines are restored.
Step 5: After tap lines are repaired the crew can work on individual service lines. The crew has passed the single house three times, and could have stopped anytime after the main line repair restored electricity to the pole nearby. But it's not fair to other members for a crew to spend hours on a single repair when the crew can move down the road and restore power to dozens of homes in the same amount of time.
Finally, power is fully restored to the whole service area.
Please note: The Cuivre River line crew may need to come out in the following days and weeks to make long-term repairs and rebuild sections of line that were severely damaged by the storm. This might mean you will find blinking clocks when you get home from work or be notified of planned short-term outages to allow for repairs.
It might also mean tree-trimming crews will be in the area to make sure rights-of-way are clear of overhanging tree branches. Wind and ice storms can topple trees into power lines, which account for many of the outages in wooded areas.
When you see the orange diamond-shaped “Utility Work Ahead” or similar work signs along the road, be sure to slow down and give the line crews plenty of room. They might just be working on the power line that powers your home.
To learn the extent of damage from a major storm, check the Liver Outage Viewer link below.
If you ever have any questions about outages and repairs, or to report a power outage be sure to contact Cuivre River at 1-800-392-3709. For power outage tips, check the Power Outage Tips link below.