When you report an outage, a first responder – called a troubleman – is dispatched to assess the situation. Troublemen work alone and they can only safely perform one-person work and repairs, such as opening/closing switches, refusing transformers and tightening connections. In many cases, these first responders can make the necessary repairs and restore service. However, sometimes the damage is more extensive due to severe weather, car accidents or other issues and requires more than one person to safely repair. The troubleman then calls the dispatch office to request a line crew be sent to make the repairs. Depending on the crew’s location and schedule, it may take some time to arrive on the scene. The troubleman may leave, because there is no more he can do and he may be needed at another outage.
In particularly difficult restoration situations, additional crews may be called to help. The crew members may need to discuss any number of issues, including the outage cause, required safety precautions or the tools and resources required to make repairs.
If the repair requires digging, we must call 8-1-1 before work can begin to determine what other underground facilities are buried in the area. This process takes time because other utilities and/or their locators are required to arrive onsite to mark the location of their underground items. Calling 8-1-1 before digging prevents damage to other underground lines, pipes or items in the area.
Before the crews can safely begin work on energized lines, they must request a work permit.This work permit requires the crew to notify the dispatch office of their exact work location and requires the dispatch office to apply a safety setting on the circuit’s breaker. The safety setting reduces injury and damage but takes some time to apply.
Before power can be restored after the repairs have been made, the troubleman and/or line crew, check with the dispatch office to make sure that other workers on the lines doesn’t pose any safety or operational issues. Sometimes it may look like the troubleman or crew is not doing anything while they wait for the “all clear” and the switch is flipped (just like your breaker at home) that restores service.
Rest assured we do everything we can to restore your power as safely and quickly as possible. If your home sustained damage, you may not be able to receive power even if it is flowing. You may need to call a licensed electrician to make repairs.