Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC)
Major Outage FAQs
Q. When will my power come back on?
A. Sometimes when there is so much damage, we cannot provide an estimated time of restoration. Usually we are able to provide more information when the number of outages decreases.
SEC crews will work around the clock, with assistance from linemen who have traveled here from other cooperatives, until every member’s home has power. Many SEC employees who are working are also without power when they go home so we understand how frustrating this is.
Q. When will someone be in my area to begin work?
A. Even if you don’t see trucks in your area, that doesn’t mean that repairs are not being done. For example, the damage that is causing your outage may be at the substation or down a right of way which is not visible from your home.
The crews must restore all the main lines first then they can restore the feeder lines. There is no way of telling how much damage is on a line without patrolling the entire line.
Q. Why does my neighbor have power and I don't?
A. This is extremely frustrating and it doesn’t seem to make sense but there may be damage to the service wires leading only to your home. These wires don't affect your neighbor's electric supply.
Your neighbor's home may be served by a different circuit or line than your home, even though you're right next door. The homes and businesses on our system are not connected in a series like connect the dots; they are connected more like a spider web. There may also be as many as three different "hot lines” or phases on the pole in front of your home. Your neighbor may get service from a different "hot line" than you. A problem down the street that's affecting the same phase as your home could be keeping the power off for all homes attached to that particular "hot line."
Q. Why don’t I see my location on your outage map?
A. Under normal circumstances, our outage map is a great tool to track the status of outages but with damage of this magnitude, it sometimes cannot keep up with the changes that are happening so quickly and frequently. We have restored power to thousands since this weather started but new outages and problems keep developing and will continue to develop until the wind dies down. We apologize for this inconvenience.
Q. I’ve tried and tried to reach you but always receive a busy signal and have to wait on hold for ever to speak with someone. Why does it take so long?
A. SEC experiences high volumes of phone calls during major outages. Unfortunately, this can tie up the multiple phone lines the cooperative uses and lead to longer than normal on-hold times. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
Members can also report their outage by signing up for our outage texting service: www.sec.coop/content/outage-texting
Q. Should I help by removing trees from power lines?
A. No, it is impossible to tell just by looking at them if power lines are energized. Live trees are excellent conductors of electricity, as are metal chain saw blades and bars. If power is out in your area, be aware that neighbors using electric generators incorrectly could be sending electricity into the lines. This could be deadly.
LEAVE ALL LINE WORK, INCLUDING TREE REMOVAL, TO THE HIGHLY TRAINED CREWS USING THE PROPER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS AND EQUIPEMENT!
Q. I am a Serious Medical Condition member and should be the first to get my power restored. Why has it not been restored yet?
A. SEC cannot guarantee your electric service. Things beyond our control, like storms and car/power pole accidents, will always tear down power lines and disrupt the flow of electricity.
Members who depend on electrical equipment for a medical necessity should always have alternate plans in place in case the power goes out for an extended amount of time. This may include a backup power source, extra medical supplies or an alternate location until the outage is over.
Q. How does SEC restore power?
Service restoration follows a 5-step process:
First, ensure power is flowing to substations; repair transmission line if necessary and energize substation.
Repair and energize main “feeder” circuits from substations. Smaller “tap” lines may have to be disconnected in order to energize the main circuit. Tap lines carry power from the circuits into smaller communities, developments, and individual homes and businesses.
After restoring main circuits at substations, crews move to the next substation and repeat process.
Completing Steps 1-3 restores service to large number of members.
Crews will return to main circuits and repair damage along smaller “tap” lines. Priority is based on the number of members served by each tap. Crews will re-energize each tap until repairs are complete.
After all multiple customer taps are repaired and energized, crews will repair taps serving small customers or single accounts and perform repairs restoring service to individual customers.
Power restoration has to follow these steps. Working on an individual home before the substation and main lines are up and running will not restore the power to your home. It would be like putting the roof on a house before pouring the foundation and building the walls.
Q. The SEC crew was working down the street and they left. Why did they leave instead of restoring my power?
A. Situations often change during a major restoration causing crews to be reassigned to other locations. Crews may leave and return to some locations. Also, crews may arrive in your area and, upon further assessment, determine that work must first be completed at another location in order to bring power into your area.
Q. Why are my lights blinking?
A. As crews work to get additional lines on, it may cause power to dim or blink unexpectedly.
Q. How long will the food keep in my refrigerator and my freezer?
A. Food will last longer if the refrigerator and freezer doors are kept closed as much as possible. A well- insulated refrigerator will keep food in the safe temperature (below 40 degrees) for about 12 hours. A well-filled freezer keeps for two days. Insulate the freezer with newspapers, rugs or blankets to keep it cold even longer.
SEC Outage Center: http://www.sec.coop/content/OutageCenter