In the event of a power outage, many trained staff work together to get power restored. The primary goal is getting the greatest number of co-op members back online in the shortest possible time. The graphic below is a pictorial representation of how power is restored after an outage. The image can be selected for a larger view and the text on the right explains the steps involved within the process.
Transmission towers and lines that supply power to one or more transmission substations rarely fail. However, when damage does occur - usually due to high winds or ice buildup- these towers and lines must be repaired before other parts of the distribution system are inspected, because they serve thousands (or ten of thousands) of people.
A co-op usually has several local distribution substations, each serving hundreds or thousands of co-op members. When a major outage takes place, these substations usually are checked first to see if the problem is in the transmission system to the substations or the substations themselves.
If the problem cannot be isolated at a local distribution substation, the next step is to check the distribution lines that carry power to groups of customers such as towns or housing developments. In Iowa, the largest cause of outages is fallen trees, which is why your co-op has an ongoing right-of-way maintenance program.
Then, the line crews work on outages that are more localized by inspecting the final supply lines - called tap lines - that carry power to utility poles or underground transformers outside small businesses, schools and homes.
Finally, isolated outages - caused for example, by a damaged service line between a transformer and an individual home - are repaired. Make sure you report any outage to your electric co-op. This will help line crews isolate and repair the problems as soon as possible.
Call T.I.P. REC to report an outage at 800-934-7976.