Common Reasons for Outages

Monday | January 25, 2021

Power outages are never convenient for anyone, but they do occur. Though it’s often obvious why there might be an outage, usually because of the weather, sometimes we might be left in the dark, literally and figuratively, while the power’s out. 

Weather: A heavy buildup of ice and snow on power lines, poles, and equipment can bring them down. Wind also causes widespread damage. High winds following a heavy ice storm can be particularly devastating. Lightning strikes can cause major damage to electrical equipment, transmission towers, wires, and poles. 

Trees: During high winds, snow, and ice, tree limbs can snap, or entire trees can topple onto power lines.  

Accidents: A vehicle hitting a utility pole can break the pole and knock lines from their overhead perch. Excavation work can disturb buried electric service lines causing an outage. Always call 811 before any gardening or digging project. 

Animals: Small animals and birds can climb on poles and electrical equipment, which may cause a short circuit or equipment to shut down.

Vandalism: People shooting at insulators and transformers is still a sad cause for power outages in rural areas. 

Planned Outages: If an electric cooperative is performing maintenance or upgrading its equipment, it may need to turn off the power temporarily. The cooperative will usually try to notify consumers.