WHAT CAUSES POWER TO BLINK
Sometimes, weather can cause branches and other debris to blow into our lines or cause pieces of power equipment to touch. When something touches our power lines it causes a “fault” or “short circuit” on the line, which causes the power to blink.
It is 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. But, it’s still 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 damage or a complete power outage.
Our equipment is working like it should when the power blinks, because it is trying to protect itself.Read More
In other words, 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 surge 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 and that is when a lineman must find the problem and manually fix it.
In areas that are more prone to severe weather, especially gusty winds, are also more prone to power blinks.
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.
Winter Storm Preparedness
When winter temperatures drop and storms hit, it can be challenging to stay safe and warm. Winter storm severity varies depending on where you live, but nearly all Americans are affected by extreme winter storms at some point. San Isabel Electric cares about your safety, and we want you to be prepared.
Heavy snow and ice can lead to downed power lines, leaving co-op members without power. During extremely low temperatures, this can be dangerous. During a power outage, our crews will continue to work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power, but there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself.Read More
- Stay warm – Plan to use a safe alternate heating source, such as a fireplace or wood-burning stove during a power outage. These are great options to keep you and your loved ones warm, but exercise caution when using, and never leave the heating source unattended. If you are using gasoline-, propane- or natural gas-burning devices to stay warm, never use them indoors. Remember that fuel- and wood-burning sources of heat should always be properly ventilated. Always read the manufacturer’s directions before using.
- Stay fed – The CDC recommends having several days’ supply of food that does not need to be cooked handy. Crackers, cereal, canned goods and bread are good options. Five gallons of water per person should also be available in the event of an extended power outage.
- Stay safe – When an outage occurs, it usually means power lines are down. It is best not to travel during winter storms, but if you must, bring a survival kit along, and do not travel alone. If you encounter downed lines, always assume they are live. Stay as far away from the downed lines as possible, and report the situation to our dispatchers by calling 1-800-279-7432 if possible.
Winter weather can be unpredictable and dangerous, and planning ahead can often be the difference between life and death. San Isabel Electric is ready for what Mother Nature has in store, and we want you to be ready, too.
Preparing for flash flood related outages
Due to the severe damage from the Spring Fire, San Isabel Electric is warning all Huerfano County residents to be prepared for prolonged power outages due to flooding in 2019.
Flooding conditions can cause prolonged outages even for those not anywhere near a flood zone. Flooding can also create electrical hazards, which many times are not readily visible.
Properties on high ground, even miles outside the burn scar and away from flood plains, are still susceptible to prolonged power outages due to flood damaged equipment several miles down the line.Read More
San Isabel Electric is proud to serve as one of the agencies working with emergency managers to protect the communities that have already been devastated by the Spring Fire disaster. Debris is what could cause the worst damage to San Isabel Electric’s system. To prepare, your electric cooperative is stocking up on common items such as wire, cabinets, poles and hardware like cross-arms and insulators.
In the event of a flash flood, San Isabel Electric will evaluate the damage and make a choice about the fastest way to safely restore power, either through temporary or permanent repairs.
The co-op has a mobile substation that can literally replace any substation in its’ system if it were taken out by a natural disaster. The mobile sub can be in place and operating within a day and power up to 6,500 meters, or in other words, all of San Isabel’s meters in Pueblo West. The co-op is also investigating options and possible locations where large generators can be placed to assist with extended power outages.
How to prepare for flood-related power outages
No one knows exactly where potential flooding will occur, where the water will go, where the debris will go or where damage will be. But everyone knows water and electricity don’t mix. Be prepared for prolonged outages by keeping the following items in an easy-to-find emergency supply kit.
- Three-day water and food supply (one-gallon per person per day).
- Flashlight, extra batteries, manual can opener, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, NOAA weather radio with tone alert.
- First-aid supplies, hand sanitizer and at least one week’s supply of prescriptions and medications for the family.
Portable or permanently installed standby generators can come in handy during long-term power outages. However, if you do not know how to use them properly, they can be dangerous. Contact a qualified vendor or electrician to help you determine what generator is best suited to your needs. Before using, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Invisible electrical hazards
Flash floods result in quickly moving water that can sweep away objects in its path. Such flooding can develop within minutes, and in addition to the destruction caused, the waters can also cover up electrical hazards. The speed and depth of flood waters are often difficult to visually asses. Never approach electrical equipment in a boat or on foot, even if lines are on the ground or underwater. That equipment could still be energized.
Even if lines are on the ground or equipment is underwater, don’t assume they are dead. Don’t approach lines or electrical equipment that could still be energized. If you ever see a downed line while walking or driving, stay far away and call 911 immediately.
If your home has flooded, and the electricity was not turned off beforehand, do not enter any room where water may be in contact with electrical equipment or outlets.
Keep in mind that electrical equipment does not have to be visibly arcing or sparking to be dangerous. Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so.If you cannot reach your breaker box safely, call San Isabel Electric to shut off power at the meter at 1-800-279-7432 or 719-547-2160.
Even after the water has receded, there are important safety steps yet to take. Have an electrician check the condition of your home before you turn the power on after a flood. Before turning on an appliance that has been wet, make sure it has been inspected by a service repair worker.
More flood preparedness information can be found at ready.gov/floods.
Portable or permanently installed standby generators can come in handy during long-term power outages. However, if you do not know how to use them properly, they can be dangerous. Contact a qualified vendor or electrician to help you determine what generator is best suited to your needs. Before using, read and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Click here for more generator safety information.
- Operate it outdoors in an area with plenty of ventilation. Never run a generator in a home or garage. Generators give off deadly carbon monoxide.
- Do not plug a generator into the wall to avoid back feed. Use heavy-duty extension cords to connect appliances to the outlets on the generator.
- Turn the generator on before plugging appliances to it. Once the generator is running, turn your appliances and lights on one at a time to avoid overloading the unit. Remember, generators are for temporary usage; prioritize your needs.
- Generators pose electrical risks, especially when operated in wet conditions. Use a generator only when necessary when the weather creates wet or moist conditions. Protect the generator by operating it under an open, canopy-like structure on a dry surface where water cannot form puddles or drain under it. Always ensure your hands are dry before touching the generator.
- Be sure the generator is turned off and cool before fueling it.
- Keep children and pets away from portable generators. Many generator components are hot enough to burn you during operation.
Power Line Safety
Downed power lines can look relatively harmless, but don’t be fooled. They likely carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. For safety information about downed power lines, click here. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about downed power lines:
Call Before You Dig
BEFORE YOU DIG… Calling 811 is the most important step! Call 811 at least a few days before you start any digging project. Whether you are planning to do it yourself or hire a professional, smart digging means calling 811 before each job. Ready to dig? We’ll help you do it safely! Click here for more information about calling 811.
What can I do to help someone who has come in contact with a downed power line?
If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
Can I use something that is not metal to try to move a downed power line myself?
Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and then electrocute you.
What should I do if I encounter a downed power line?
If you see a downed power line, move at least 10 feet away from the line and anything touching it. The human body is a ready conductor of electricity.
The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage zone—and it could do that through your body.
What should I do if I see a downed power line in the street while I am driving my car?
Do not drive over downed power lines.
What if a power line comes down onto my car or I didn’t see it until I’ve driven into it?
If you are in your car and it is in contact with the downed line, stay in your car. Tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
If you must leave your car because it’s on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with the live car and the ground at the same time. This way you avoid being the path of electricity from the car to the earth. Shuffle away from the car.
Is a downed power line still dangerous if it has come down in water, like a pool or pond?
Water is a good conductor of electricity. Any amount of water—even a puddle—could become energized. Be careful not to touch water—or anything in contact with the water—near where there is a downed power line.