Power interruptions are the absolute worst! They are very unfavorable to everyone for several reasons. We’re in a digital world and every little blip causes us to reset or restart our devices and appliances. I know this is annoying and upsetting to our members. Let me help you understand how Little River Electric’s system works.
Our system, as with other providers, is designed to interrupt service when a fault occurs on the primary line. Reclosers in substations, down line reclosers, fuses, and other sectionalizing devices are coordinated with timing curves to allow for these devices to open momentarily if a fault occurs down line. This will allow the fault to clear and not cause an extended outage. If the fault doesn’t clear, then the device will open nearest to the fault and create an outage.
Our crews are always on standby and ready to be dispatched to restore service to the affected area. Restoration time can take longer due to travel time, locating the problem, and repairs depending on the situation. Underground service trouble can take longer to find and repair than overhead service, for obvious reasons.
All Little River Electric underground facilities are fed by numerous miles of overhead lines. Overhead lines are more accessible to elements of weather, animals, and human error. The majority of the blinks and outages happen due to one of these problems. Our number one cause of interruptions on the overhead system is, believe it or not, SQUIRRELS. Yes, squirrels. Weather is second and is more widespread.
Underground systems are not free of issues, either. Faulty equipment, and yes, ground squirrels have caused blinks and outages. These problems take much more time to locate and usually contribute to more blinks.
Large underground systems are designed to have a backup feed capability to cut down on outage times during repair. When the problem is located, our system has the capability to change the direction of the feed to isolate the problem, allowing service to be restored much quicker. Our systems are designed to strict criteria by the NESC (National Electric Safety Code) and RUS (Rural Utility Services) standards and specifications. Everything is built in compliance and maintained in accordance with the standards set before us. Safety is our main objective and we strive to maintain reliability as well.
Mike Ellis, General Manager