High winds, ice storms, earthquakes, and even a rare tornado—PenLight members could experience any of these events. With severe weather comes power outages. Restoring power after a major outage is a big job that involves more than merely throwing a switch or removing a tree from a line. The main goal is to safely restore power to the greatest number of members in the shortest possible time.
Individual households may receive special attention if loss of electricity affects life support systems or poses another immediate danger. If you or a family member depend on life support, call your cooperative before an emergency arises.
Transmission towers and lines supply power to one or more transmission substations. These lines seldom fail, but an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado can damage them. Tens of thousands of people could be served by one high-voltage transmission line, so if there is damage here, it gets attention first.
PenLight has several local distribution substations, each serving thousands of consumers. When a major outage occurs, the local distribution substations are checked first. A problem here could be caused by failure in the transmission system supplying the substation. If the problem can be corrected at the substation level, power may be restored to a large number of people.
Main distribution supply lines are checked next if the problem cannot be isolated at the substation. These supply lines carry electricity away from the substation to a group of consumers, such as a town or housing development. When power is restored at this stage, all consumers served by this supply line could see the lights come on, if there is no problem farther down the line.
The final supply lines, called tap lines, carry power to the utility poles or underground transformers outside houses or other buildings. Line crews fix the remaining outages based on restoring service to the greatest number of consumers.
Sometimes, damage occurs on the service line between your house and the transformer on the nearby pole. This can explain why you have no power when your neighbor does. PenLight needs to know you have an outage here so a service crew can repair it.