It’s a gorgeous, sunny Saturday afternoon. You’re doing some laundry, vacuuming the living room, and you’ve got a cake baking in your electric oven for a get-together you’re hosting this evening. All of the sudden, the room goes dark; the vacuum shuts off, and you panic at the though of a ruined cake! Power outages are frustrating, but unfortunately, they are often unavoidable.
We’ll take a look at the obvious offenders first. Stormy weather—thunderstorms, lightning, wind—can cause damage to power lines. Lightning looks for the tallest conductor to find the quickest path to the ground. Often, these are utility poles, transformers and electric wires. Absorbing a lightning bolt can cause damage and power outages. Even when electrical infrastructure doesn’t take a direct hit, lightning striking a tree and causing it to fall on lines can also cause outages.
Wind can also make trees an enemy to power lines. Strong enough winds blow limbs, branches or even the whole trees onto electrical wires, causing them to break or fall to the ground. Wind blowing on power lines and making them slap together may result in faults or short circuits that will interrupt service, too.
But what causes outages on clear, beautiful days without a cloud in the sky?
Wrecks Wreak Havoc
Vehicles accidents involving power poles are more common than you may think. Wrecks wreak havoc—knocking over poles or hitting a pole hard enough to cause wires to come loose and even fall to the ground! Power may also take more time to restore in these outages, also. Often, linemen will have to wait until the accident is cleared by emergency responders before they can begin repairs.
Bird, and squirrels and snakes—oh my! An often unthought of source of power outages is small animals. Squirrels running along wires and chewing through electrical insulation or birds perching and nesting on energized equipment are not only ways for these creatures to meet their untimely demise but can also be causes of ill-timed electricity interruptions.
Perhaps the most cringe-worthy culprits of critter caused outages are snakes. Even with barriers in place at substations, snakes slither their way through the smallest holes, seeking shelter from environmental elements. In the winter, they may be looking for warmth near transformers; in spring and summer, they are becoming active after months of laying dormant.
GVEC is Always On-Call
No matter the cause, GVEC is always on-call to respond to outages and turn the lights back on. The easiest ways to report outages in your area are with your smartphone! You can use TextPower by simply texting OUT to 800.223.4832. TextPower also allows you to request status updates on outages and notifies you once power is restored. This is a free service from GVEC, however messaging and data rates from your cell phone provider may apply.
You can also report outages, in addition to checking your usage, paying your bills and more, with using SmartHub. To download this free app from the App Store or Google Play, search “SmartHub,” and type “GVEC” into the search box when prompted to search by location.