Understanding Outages

Understanding and Preparing for Power Outages

Outages are frustrating because they cause a disruption in daily life. At Pascoag Utility District we work hard to prevent outages from occurring. Unfortunately, sometimes despite our best efforts, outages occur. Here are some of the reasons why an outage might happen.

Natural Causes

Weather

  • Strong winds can cause trees or branches to fall and pull down power lines. A branch could even brush against a power line causing a short circuit or blown fuse.
  • Lightning strikes can damage substations, power lines and equipment.
  • High winds, heavy rain, snow and ice also can damage equipment and cause outages.

 Animals

  • Since Burrillville is a very rural area, there is always the added problem of small animals. Sometimes squirrels chew the lines or come into contact with a piece of equipment and an energized line, resulting in their untimely demise, and an interruption of electric service for you.

Human Error

Excavation

In an effort to avoid damage to our underground facilities please call Dig Safe at 1-888-DIG-SAFE prior to doing any excavation work. Digging in an area that you do not know about could result in a power outage that could have been prevented.

Automobile Accidents

Cars can sometimes hit utility poles or other equipment and that can also cause outages. These outages can be frustrating for residents who may live some distance away and are unaware of the cause.

Equipment Failures

Sometimes in spite of regular service, mechanical systems do break down occasionally. Although we have high standards in maintaining our equipment, there are events when equipment can fail.

Questions

What is Pascoag Utility District doing to reduce the incidence of outages?

  • In an effort to provide the most effective, continuity of service to our customers, a higher voltage distribution substation was recently purchased and installed.
  • In order to meet all federal and state requirements pertaining to system reliability and vegetation management, Pascoag Utility District recently hired an in-house tree trimming crew. This will ensure that lines are maintained on a routine basis, thereby lowering weather related outages.
  • Our circuits are patrolled on a regular basis.
  • All of our high voltage conductors have a special coating that gives added protection against the weight of tree branches and from the damage that animals sometimes cause.

 How does Pascoag Utility District restore power?

Restoring power may take some time. To first energize a circuit, line crews need to insure that all faults have been cleared. Using procedures that guarantee the safety of our employees and our customers are of first importance to PUD. Once the line crews have determined all faults have been cleared, they may begin restoring one circuit at a time.

You can help by making sure that you turn off all lights and appliances that were in operation when you lost power. By reducing the electrical load on the line, there is less of a strain on the system, and power can be restored more quickly to the greatest number of customers.

When you call the District office to report an outage, please give your name, address and telephone number. In the event of a system wide outage, the District has Customer Service Representative staffing the office so that you, our customer, are guaranteed to speak to someone in the District. Once the line crews inform the office that service has been restored, the Customer Service Representatives “spot check” with some of the customers who reported outages. We do this so that we’re sure that power has been restored to everyone.

In the event of severe weather conditions, power restoration may take additional time.

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