Q: Why does my neighbor have power and I don’t?
A: There are several reasons this can happen. First there may be damage to the service wires leading only to your home. These would not affect your neighbor’s electric supply.
Second, your neighbor’s home may be served by a different circuit or feed than your home, even though you are right next door. The homes and businesses on our system are not connected in series like the dot-to-dot game you played as a child/ rather they are connected more like a spider web that crisscrosses from place to place in a seemingly random way (even though it’s not random at all!).
Besides different circuits or feeds, there may also be as many as three different “hot lines” (phases) on a 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 served by the same phase as your home could be keeping the power off for all homes attached to that particular “hot line.”
A. The crew you saw was probably working on getting the backbone of the electric system repaired. Our first priority in an outage after making sure the substations are functioning is to get the main circuits back in operation. It would be futile to repair the wire leading to your home if there’s still no electricity on the street.
Keep in mind that not every wire out on the street is considered a main circuit. There are thousands of lines that feed off of main circuits. After the main trunks are “back hot”, we start repairing the taps. After trunk lines are functioning, we make repairs that affect the most people at one time. This means that repairs that affect only one or two locations will probably be last.
A. Unfortunately, Mother Nature probably won’t ever allow us to guarantee your electric service. Things beyond our control will always tear down power lines and disrupt the flow of electricity.
That’s why 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. It just makes good sense. And even though we give these accounts priority, we still must repair damage to the backbone of our system before we can turn our attention to individual priority accounts.
A. Even though the wires coming into your home are buried, overhead wires bring electricity to those underground wires from the substation. Additionally, in areas that are prone to flooding, underground equipment can become damaged once submerged. If the flood waters are saltwater, it may be necessary to wash out the equipment before normal operation can resume.