Santee Electric Cooperative answers frequently-asked questions

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What is a feeder?

A feeder is a main circuit leaving a substation and usually serves 1,000 to 1,500 customers.

How does Santee Electric Cooperative prioritize its restoration efforts?

A. Santee Electric crews are assigned to a pre-determined set of restoration priorities. It is impossible for our crews to get power to individual houses first when the main lines, substations or larger transmission lines are damaged. Essentially, the crews have to work on the larger electrical equipment first before power is restored to an individual home.

B. Restoration decisions are based on the number of customers served by a particular device. We restore power to devices serving the most customers first. The specific prioritization order is as follows:

1. Feeders are restored first, as they typically serve 1500-3000 consumers

2. Tap lines are restored next, as they typically serve 25-50 consumers

3. Individual transformers are the last devices restored as they only serve three consumers on average.

C. Santee Electric’s priorities for storm restoration are intended to emphasize health, safety, and essential community services; and to restore service in a manner that will affect the greatest number of customers first.

Santee Electric’s priorities are:

1. Repair of main distribution lines (called feeders) and service to essential customers – those facilities that are essential to the health, safety and welfare of the community

2. Restoration of selected distribution lines, where it is possible, to energize large groups of customers by making minor repairs

3. Block by block restoration of remaining power lines

4. Final clean up survey

Why do some customers have power, while their neighbors remain out?

Customers in the same neighborhood may be served from different phases on the same feeder. One phase may be less severely damaged than another, which serves the neighbors’ homes. Members who remain without power may have an individual outage due to a downed tap line or other reason. Crews are working to address these situations on a “home by home” basis.

Note: Not seeing a crew does not mean a member’s situation is not being addressed. In outage situations, crews are diligently working to cut trees and restore lines, and it is sometimes the case that power can be restored to areas without members actually seeing a crew.

It is also possible that an individual member’s breaker needs to be reset. Customers are urged to examine this possibility and, if necessary, customers should reset the breakers inside the home (i.e., breaker panel or fuse box). Also, with safety as the top priority, the member should reset the breaker outside at the meter base if there is one. At the same time, customers should look for damage to the service line or meter base.

Note: If you notice damage to the meter base, that damage must be repaired before Santee Electric’s line and service staff can restore power to the home. The member is responsible for calling an electrician to make the necessary repairs.

Why are customers experiencing momentary restoration, followed by another outage?

Crews sometimes must restore power repeatedly to some areas because trees and tree limbs continue to fall onto lines, causing wide fluctuations in the number of customers without power.

When will the power be back on?

This depends on the amount of damage sustained and current conditions. Field personnel must complete a damage assessment before any reliable estimate can be made.

While my lights are on, they’re dim. What’s causing this?

This may be an incidence of partial power. At this point, customers should unplug large/major appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, air conditioners, etc., as this could cause a power fluctuation and result in another outage. Once lights are bright, indicating full power has been restored, it is safe to plug in major appliances.

Do politicians and other individuals get special priority attention?

No, Santee Electric Cooperative does not give preferential treatment. It is contrary to the storm plan and company policy to single out any individual for priority electric service restoration. Not only would this type of activity be counter-productive to the goal of concentrating resources on work that can restore the largest number of members at one time, it likely would be embarrassing to the recipient, and fairly obvious to neighbors, if preferential treatment were granted.

— From Santee Electric Cooperative

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