A: If you see a downed line, assume it is a live power line and call EWEB immediately at 1-844-484-2300. If the downed line is across a street or sidewalk, call 911.
There is no way to know whether it is energized, so play it safe and keep your distance—stay at least 50 feet (about the length of two busses) away from the line.
Stay away from fences, standing water and debris that is near the line. Puddles and limbs could be electrically charged if the line is still energized.
A: Unless the cause of an outage is obvious (such as a when a car runs into a power pole), we don't know how long it will take to find the cause and make the repair until a troubleshooter or assessment team can take a look.
During widespread outages this is even more challenging. After severe storms, it can take several days just to assess the extent of the damage and make our community safe. Our priorities in order when we have large outages is to first make safe, assess the damage, and then restore service. We can only begin restoring power after we have an idea of the many problems in the system.
We don't want to give anyone false expectations, but as we confirm information, we will be sure to share it.
A: We follow the hierarchy of repair to restore power to the most customers at once. There are a few reasons for this besides just customer count.
First, an electrical system is a little like a network of roads. If the roads leading to your home are blocked, it doesn't matter if your driveway is clear; you won't make it home. During an outage, problems can occur in any stage of the transmission or distribution system. If there is damage at both a substation and the line delivering power to your home, it won't do any good fixing the service line to your home first, because the damage "upstream" of your home (at the substation) will prevent power from reaching your home.
Often, the damage sustained at the service line level is the most time-consuming to repair. A crew might spend the same amount of time restoring power to a few customers as it takes to restore power to several hundred customers.
A: There are generally two reasons for this. First, the electric system does not always align with streets. Neighbors across the street from each other could be served by a different part of the system that still has power.
If you are the only person without power in your immediate area, you may have damage to the service line that leads to your home. You should check to be sure your weatherhead and meter base didn't sustain damage. Before we can restore service to your home, any damage to equipment on the customer-side (your weatherhead, mast or meter base) must be repaired by an electrician.
A: The crew that arrived was likely there to perform a different job in the restoration process. It may have been an assessment or trouble-shooting crew looking for the cause of the outage so they can relay back to dispatch what equipment is needed to make the repairs, including whether flaggers or a tree crew are required. A repair crew will then be sent to the location with the necessary supplies, equipment and personnel.
During widespread outages, we may have crews whose job it is to make things as safe as possible for the community and our field staff. Sometimes that means arriving at a location and disconnecting power, assessing the situation, making safe downed wires, and so on, and then leaving to continue this process at another location where there is damage. The actual repair will happen later, by a different crew.