• Restoration 101

  • How We Restore Power

    Severe weather and other unpredictable events occasionally hit our service area, causing damage to electrical equipment that disrupts the flow of power to homes and businesses. We do our very best to prepare for these circumstances so that when they do occur, we are ready to immediately begin the important work of restoring power to affected areas. Safety is our top priority, so our damage assessment and restoration process only starts once the storm has cleared and it’s safe for our personnel to work. After addressing life  threatening, safety and health situations, we repair equipment that will restore power to the greatest number of customers first. The sequence is as follows:

    Restoration Process


    1. Downed live wires or potentially life-threatening situations
    2. Transmission lines serving thousands of customers
    3. Substation equipment that affects widespread areas
    4. Main distribution lines serving large numbers of customers
    5. Secondary lines serving neighborhoods
    6. Service lines to individual homes and businesses

    Estimated Restoration Times

    When you call us to report a power outage, we provide an estimate for restoration based on current reported field conditions and predictions from our automated Outage Management System (OMS).

    We are continually working to improve our ability to provide you with accurate restoration estimates. Several considerations come into play when estimating restoration times. One important factor, particularly after a large storm, is completion of our damage assessment. Until the assessment is done, it is hard to provide a restoration time, especially in cases where we have sustained extremely high numbers of outages.

    Other factors that affect restoration times include:

    • Weather
    • Accessibility to damaged areas
    • Coordination with other agencies working on the storm restoration, such as public works and tree removal, and changing public safety and health priorities
    • Repair crews may discover additional or more complex problems that require additional time, equipment or crews

    Note that a crew may leave your neighborhood before your power is restored for many reasons, including:

    • They were fixing a feeder that does not serve your home
    • They may need specialized equipment to finish repairs
    • They were securing downed wires for follow-up by repair crews
    • There could be more than one location on the power line that is damaged
    • Another area may need to be repaired to activate your service


    Damage Assessment

    As soon as conditions are safe, damage assessors are dispatched to outage locations to evaluate and document damage that has occurred to the electric system. Using mobile devices, the assessors update the outage information with their damage assessment so that District IMT Personnel may direct the required resources, including labor and materials, to their location to complete the repair efficiently.

    CUSTOMER ON LIFE-SUPPORT

    Because customers who use life-support equipment reside in all parts of our service area, giving restoration priority to these customers when there are extensive power outages is not possible. However, we understand how important information is to these customers and their caregivers, and, therefore, prior to a major storm or similar event, we make special efforts to communicate that outages are possible.

    It is important that customers who use life-support equipment or their caregivers make arrangements ahead of time to prepare for potentially long-lasting interruptions in service.

    • You may want to ask a relative or friend if you can stay with them. Another option is to research whether or not a portable generator is appropriate for your situation.
    • Customers who experience medical distress due to a power outage should seek medical assistance.
    • If you or someone you know uses life-support equipment that requires electricity to operate, identify a location with emergency power capabilities and make plans to go there or to a hospital during a prolonged outage.
    • If you have not done so previously, please call Customer Care at 1-800-642-3780 to enroll in our Emergency Medical Equipment Notification Program and ensure that we have a current address and telephone number for the individual with life-support equipment.