What is a blink?

Have you ever noticed your lights blink during a thunderstorm? Or perhaps you’ve noticed a blinking microwave clock when you arrive home. When this happens, you’ve likely experienced a brief disruption to your electric service. While the symptoms of outages and blinks can appear similar, what’s happening behind the scenes can be quite different.

The most common causes of blinking

During a storm or bad weather, there may be high winds, lightning, rain, ice, etc., which can affect our power lines. Bad weather can cause branches and other debris to blow into our lines or cause pieces of power equipment to blow into each other and touch. When something touches our power lines it causes a “fault” or breaks the electric current on the line, which causes the power to blink.

What to do if you experience regular blinks

Our equipment is actually working like it should when the power blinks. Like a circuit breaker in your home, a blink in power occurs when the system automatically shuts the power down to isolate the problem. This process happens automatically using equipment called a recloser. The reclosers protect our system from more serious damage which could result in a longer outage and affect more members.

For example, when a tree is on a line, the recloser will open momentarily with the fault then close again to try to restore the power. It may open and close several times over a few seconds before it senses that the problem is no longer there. Thus, the blinking lights in your home.

If the recloser goes through its full operational sequence and the fault is not cleared, it locks open, prevent electricity from flowing down the line, causing a power outage. That is when a lineman must physically find the problem and manually fix it, which is often time and labor intensive. 

This is the part where you come in. It’s much harder to find an issue that is causing the power to blink than finding a problem that is causing the power to go completely out. You can help! Any time you experience repeated disruptions to your electric service, please let us know! You can call 800-279-SIEA or email contactus@siea.com. It is important to report continued or regular blinking so we can dispatch lineworkers to patrol the area and start looking for the cause before the issue causes more severe and costly damage or a complete power outage. Never try to clear debris or vegetation from power equipment yourself. Always call us. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the power always blinking in my area?

The geographic location of some neighborhoods makes them more prone to severe weather, such as the high plateaus of Navajo Ranch. SIEA has made upgrades to some areas of our system,  installing advanced equipment to find temporary faults. The new equipment will help us locate what is causing the temporary fault faster and should reduce the frequency of blinks. 

Why can’t your system tolerate storms? What are you doing to make your system tolerate storms better?

We are making upgrades to our system by installing advanced equipment to find temporary faults. The new equipment will help us locate what is causing the temporary fault faster and should reduce the frequency of blinks.  


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