Manager’s Message – Winter 2017
The Anatomy of LLP’s Power Outage Response
As we enter the winter seasons, our members may wonder how prepared their utility company is for “when the lights go out.” This time of year tends to bring storms our way, which increases the risk of power outages. Since the Lakeview Light & Power grid is relatively compact—at roughly 8 square miles—it enables our crews to respond quickly, even during non-business hours. When an outage occurs, you may ask yourself, “I wonder if Lakeview knows that my power is out.” Most times, we do.
Employing technology between our substations and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, all LLP operations personnel are alerted with text messages whenever there are disruptions in service. In fact, we are alerted to many power outages the second they occur. For example, when a severed branch lands on an overhead power line, our SCADA system “tells” the relay for that particular substation feeder to open and close. It will perform this operation three times in an attempt to burn the branch off of the line. If it is unsuccessful by the third attempt, the feeder line remains open (i.e., the power is off and a crew is dispatched to restore service). LLP members who have advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meters provide another source of communication to our command center, letting us know which meters are offline.
Outages never occur at a convenient time and have a number of causes. We thoroughly prune vegetation near our overhead lines every year. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of our power lines are underground, which helps reduce outages. One of the most common sources of our isolated outages is squirrels, or other critters, trying to warm themselves inside a transformer enclosure or on a pole-mounted transformer. Their demise is quick, but nonetheless interrupts power service.
When outages occur, our office is flooded with calls. We encourage you to call us to report anything you saw or heard that may help indicate the location of the outage. We appreciate getting as much information as possible. However, if you are calling to find out the status of the outage, your best source for information is our website, Facebook page or Twitter. Our staff posts information regarding the cause, updates and expected duration, if known. Please remember to always avoid contact with downed lines, poles or transformers, even if the power appears to be out. We remain committed to restoring your power as safely and quickly as possible.