Steps to Restore Electricity – A REC Primer

Waiting for the lights to come back on during a power outage can seem like an eternity. Understanding the restoration process will not eliminate the inconvenience but it may lessen the frustration. Crews working long, hard hours after an outage have a major task that involves much more than flipping a switch or removing a tree from the line. This task is one that must be done methodically and safely.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) follows a basic principle when it comes to restoring power – getting the most people back in service as quickly as possible. With a service area expanding into 22 different counties, REC crews work to restore power throughout the entire system.

Our priority is public safety. REC crews will be sent to repair any damage that has caused life-threatening situations and to remove power lines from roadways first. Members with special needs, like home life-support systems, are also given priority, if possible. Special consideration is also given to emergency services, hospitals and nursing homes. REC follows a basic principle when it comes to restoring power – getting the most people back in service as quickly as possible by following these steps:

Step 1:   The substation and the main distribution line from the substation must be repaired first. This will often restore power to many members.

Step 2:   With the main line restored, the line crew can isolate other damage and prioritize repairs. Next, crews repair the lines that bring power to the greatest number of members.

Step 3:  Crews will continue to repair power lines that restore power to the most members at once. If you see an REC truck in the neighborhood and you are still without power, this usually means additional repairs are required before individual repairs can be completed.

Step 4:  Only after the main and tap lines are repaired do crews start working on individual service lines.

Since it is not possible to predict whose service will be disrupted due to severe weather, it is best to anticipate that it may occur in your home. Maxie Rozell, REC’s director of safety and security says, “We understand being without power can be an inconvenience. Being prepared, however, can make the situation a little less uncomfortable.  REC recommends you prepare as if you were going on a camping trip and create an outage preparedness kit.”

To find a list of items to include in your outage preparedness kit, visit the outage center on REC’s website at www.myrec.coop . Additional information is also available to help you understand more about the restoration process. REC provides electric service to over 155,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., the Cooperative maintains more than 16,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay.