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Old 05-11-2013, 01:10 PM   #1
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Do I have a complaint, or is it just life?


I had three 2 second power outages; one on the first day and two a few hours apart on the second. My neighbor had them also.

The utility sent a guy out. He said it was an automatic something or other that trips the power if a branch hits a power line and then restores it. He says they have had a bunch of complaints about this line, but haven't been able to find anything wrong with it. Just something I have to live with unless it gets worse.

Since then it has happened twice more. Should I complain again, or is there really nothing to find until it gets worse?

There may have been other outages I don't know about; my UPS beeps when it loses power and the stove clock starts flashing, but I could easily have missed another 10 if I don't hear the beep or look at the clock.

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Old 05-11-2013, 01:26 PM   #2
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Do I have a complaint, or is it just life?


These are automatic reclosers. When they sense a fault they will open the circuit, wait a few seconds and then close the circuit again. If the fault still exists they will do this several times before giving up and leaving the circuit open. Many times the fault will clear itself without a crew having to come out.

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Old 05-11-2013, 01:35 PM   #3
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Do I have a complaint, or is it just life?


Your problem is that the branch or whatever is causing the temporary short can be extremely hard to spot, particularly if they are attempting to do it from a vehicle when the line is set back from the nearest road. Sometimes a man has to walk the entire line back to the originating substation looking for a charred branch, dead animals, or whatever else might be causing it. Even the walk down does not guarantee that they will find the problem.

Talking to people along the line also helps. Sometimes you get someone that will say a branch in that tree sparks (hits the line) every time the wind blows hard. Or, we see a lot of birds on that section over there and when they all take off together, the line flips up and slaps the line above it.

You doing a lot of complaining as an individual may lower the value put on your complaints. I'd talk to the neighbors and try to get some group action going.

If you deal with a utility that is regulated by a state board, sending a letter to that board (cc to the utility) with a record of your outages will sometimes spur action.
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