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Steps to Restoring Power

During a major outage, our main goal is to restore power to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible, but we will not jeopardize the safety of the response teams or the public.

Everyone should be prepared to go without power for several days depending on the severity of the damages. Once it is safe, crews begin a methodical restoration effort. Here's how it works:

  1. Transmission towers and lines supply power to one or more substations. These lines seldom fall, but they can be damaged by a hurricane or tornado.  Thousands of people are served by one high-voltage transmission line, so if there is damage here, it gets attention first.
  2. We also check our distribution substations. CCEC has 17 substations, from Atlantic in down east Carteret County to Maysville to the west in Jones County. Problems in a distribution substation could be caused by failure in the transmission system supplying the substation or damage inside the substation itself.  If the problem can be corrected at the substation level, power may be restored to a large number of people.
  3. Main distribution supply lines are checked next. These supply lines carry electricity away from the substation to a group of consumers, such as a town or housing development.
  4. When power is restored at this stage, all consumers served by this supply line could see the lights come on. Lines that supply critical loads, such as emergency services facilities, town halls or emergency shelters, are given priority.
  5. Next we inspect tap lines, which are the lines that carry power to the utility poles or underground transformers outside houses or other buildings.
  6. Individual services are typically the last lines we work since outages here impact the least number of members. No matter how extensive the damage or how long the outage, someone is going to be the last in line to have power restored.

Sometimes you may see a CCEC truck drive through an area to visually assess damage, and then move on. This happens when the work requires more equipment or additional crew members because of the type or extent of damage. Other times, a tree crew is needed to remove fallen branches before line repairs can begin.

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