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How We Restore Power

Restoring electrical service after a major outage is a big job. Sometimes we can’t restore everyone’s power in an hour or two. You can be assured we’re working as quickly as possible to get your lights back on. This task doesn’t begin when we get the first outage call. Planning for these events begins even before we know about them.

Before The Outage

Much effort is spent to avoid large power outages. Right-of-way contractors keep trees and other growth trimmed away from power lines. Most outages occur when trees fall on power lines due to high winds or frozen precipitation accumulating on the branches. Not only does trimming prevent some of these outages, a clean right-of-way gives workers easier access to problem areas.

Our computerized outage reporting system has many incoming phone lines and handles thousands of calls an hour.

Our dispatchers constantly keep an eye on weather radar and current forecasts in case we need to hold or call in crews before a storm hits.

The Plan: How We Restore Your Power

We prioritize by making repairs that will restore power to the most consumers at one time.  View this short video to see the four general steps we follow when restoring power.

  • Transmission lines bring power to our system from generating plants. Great Lakes Energy does not maintain transmission lines.
  • Substations interface transmission lines to our main circuits. Substations must be functioning before any other part of our system can carry power. Substations are our first priority in restoring power.
  • Main circuits leave the substation and carry electric power throughout our service territory. Main circuits serve as the backbone of our system. Taps and service wires leave main circuits to carry power to relatively “small” groups of consumers. There are very few wires that are considered main circuits. Just because a line runs next to a major highway or through a subdivision doesn’t mean it’s a main circuit.
  • After the substations are functioning, we focus first on main circuits. It would be futile to make repairs to other parts of the electric system if the main circuit feeding it was out.
  • Taps feed off of main circuits and carry electricity out to smaller numbers (an entire subdivision may be a “small” number when compared to a main circuit) of consumers. Repairs on taps begin after main circuits are up and functioning.
  • Service wires may attach to main circuits or taps and supply power to only one or two locations. Repairs to service wires come last.