The work needed to quickly restore service after a large power outage begins long before it ever occurs.
How Walton EMC prepares for an outage:
- Our time-tested storm plan allows us to restore power to the most people at one time.
- Most outages occur when trees fall on power lines due to high winds or frozen precipitation accumulating on the branches. By having right-of-way contractors keep trees and other growth trimmed away from power lines, Walton EMC workers gain easier access to problem areas.
- A computerized outage reporting system can handle thousands of phone calls an hour.
- All substations and their outgoing circuits are remotely monitored by computer. The system automatically alerts us to problems or failures anywhere on the system.
- Walton EMC employees from other departments are cross-trained to help with outages.
- We have agreements in place for mutual aid in times of crisis and contact other EMCs and contractors to secure help before the damage.
- Our dispatchers constantly keep an eye on weather radar and current forecasts in order to have crews standing by for fast response.
- We keep an extra stock of commonly-used materials and have vendor arrangements to get additional materials in short order.
How Walton EMC restores power:
- We prioritize by making repairs that will restore power to the most consumers at one time.
- Transmission lines bring power to our system from generating plants. Walton EMC does not maintain transmission lines.
- Substations interface transmission lines to Walton EMC's main circuits (trunk lines), and must be functioning before any other part of our system can carry power. Thus, substations are Walton EMC's first priority in restoring power.
- Main circuits (trunk lines) 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.