Steps to restoring power following Hurricane Sally
CHELCO service crews are working around the clock to restore power following Hurricane Sally, which has caused moderate widespread damage throughout CHELCO’s service area.
CHELCO will prioritize the largest outages in an attempt to restore power to the greatest number of people. Where possible, electric power will initially be restored to facilities affecting public health, such as sewer systems and water works.
“Members are reminded to use extreme caution around fallen power lines,” said Matthew Avery, CHELCO Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations. “Always treat power lines as if they are energized, and avoid flooded areas.”
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, CHELCO had approximately 4,700 members without power. Power is predicted to be restored Friday, with potential exceptions for flooded and hazardous areas.
Members are also asked to be mindful of the steps that must be taken in order to restore power following a storm of this magnitude, which are:
Step 1 - Transmission towers and lines deliver power from plants to substations. Tens of thousands of people could be served by one high-voltage transmission line, so damage here gets attention first.
Step 2 – A cooperative has several distribution substations, each serving thousands of members. When a major outage occurs, these substations are checked first. A problem here could be caused by failure in the transmission system supplying power to the substation. If the problem can be corrected at the substation level, power may be restored to a large number of people.
Step 3 - Main distribution supply lines are checked next if the problem cannot be isolated at the substation. These supply lines carry electricity away from the substation to groups of members, such as a town or housing development. When power is restored at this stage, all those served by this supply line could see the lights come on, as long as there is no problem farther down the line.
Step 4 - The final supply lines, called taps, carry power to the utility poles or underground transformers outside houses or other buildings. Line crews fix the remaining outages based on restoring the greatest number of member-owners.
Step 5 - Sometimes damage occurs on the service line between your house and the transformer on a nearby pole. This can explain why you have no power when your neighbor does. Your electric provider needs to know you have an outage here, so a service crew can repair it.
“We appreciate our members’ understanding and patience as we make necessary repairs to our system,” Avery said. “Our goal is to restore everyone’s power as safely and quickly as possible. If you have not reported your outage to us, please do so by calling 1-800-342-0990.”
CHELCO is a not-for-profit electric distribution cooperative serving more than 53,000 accounts in Walton, Okaloosa, Holmes and Santa Rosa counties.