As repair work begins, it’s necessary for field technicians to first determine the cause and the source of the power outage. This is the most efficient way to ensure:

  • an appropriately skilled technician is assigned for the type of repairs required

  • the proper equipment and materials needed are clearly identified to help determine estimate times of restoration.

Damage assessment is the first stage of power restoration. When severe weather hits, damage to the electric grid can be extensive and widespread. Depending on the severity of the storm, the assessment process can take up to 24 hours after the weather passes.
During major weather events, a comprehensive assessment of all damage could take time, but crews are also restoring service as conditions allow. Equipment damage that does not require extensive repair work can sometimes be completed while the line technicians are on-site, if they have the required supplies.

Once damage assessment is complete, broad estimated times of restoration are determined and populated to the outage map for the county. As line crews begin making repairs, more specific estimated restoration times are provided for specific locations.

Damage Assessors perform field assessments of the electrical system after a storm exits the area. Their assessments identify the materials, crews and special equipment needed to make repairs and restore power. The information they gather assists in determining the estimated times of restoration for an area and the number of crews needed.   

Distribution Line Technicians (climbing) operate large trucks for setting poles and repairing lines. When they encounter issues that are not accessible, they climb the poles to restore service.  

Distribution Line Technicians (non-climbing) operate smaller repair trucks. They perform many of the same tasks as the climbing techs, but they are not certified to climb wood poles. They are still able to perform damage assessment, work from a hydraulic boom or “buckets” to perform power restoration. They also work on repairs to underground lines.

Vegetation Management and Tree are not qualified electrical workers, but are essential to power restoration after storm events. Our tree crews work to safely remove trees and limbs from our lines to allow Distribution Line Techs to make repairs necessary to restore power. Also, the removal of debris from main roads and access points to the rights-of-way allow repair crews access to the areas where repairs are needed.

Grid Operators work in Distribution Control Centers to use sophisticated software tools to diagnose outages, dispatch the appropriate Line Technicians, monitor alarms, identify fault locations, provide estimated-time-of restoration support and offer liaison support from the offices to our field crews.
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