Technology eliminates need to call during major outages
Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative members do not need to call our office for major outages; we have a sophisticated computer system that lets us know immediately when outages occur.
The cooperative’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system is the heart monitor of our electric system and provides real-time information on outages. Staff members monitor the SCADA system constantly and dispatch crews to fix problems and restore power.
If our area suffers widespread damage during a storm, do not call the cooperative – restoration crews are working as hard as they can to restore power safely and efficiently. However, if lights come on around you and yours don't, then call us at 252.247.3107 or 1.800.682.2217. If the phone is busy, please be patient.
Steps to Restoring Power
Each hurricane season the cooperative has its storm response plan ready and works closely with cooperative across the state.
“We have a comprehensive plan that is reviewed and refined after every storm event and before the annual hurricane season begins,” said CCEC Line Superintendent Shannon Inman.
Through the N.C. Association of Electric Cooperatives, crews, vehicles and equipment are ready in advance to head to other cooperative service territories if they are needed to help with restoration efforts.
“We call for help from sister cooperatives when our system has been damaged by storms, and we have sent crews to other areas to do the same,” Inman said. “Cooperation really helps us get the power back on a soon as possible.
Safety is paramount to any restoration effort, and members need to know that the cooperative will not put the restoration team in harm’s way. Everyone should be prepared to go without power for several days, depending on the severity of the damages in our service area and elsewhere. In fact, each household should develop and practice a family disaster plan.
“Our main goal is to restore power safely to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible, but we will not jeopardize the safety of the storm team or the public,” Inman said.
Here's how it works:
1. Transmission towers and lines supply power to one or more substations. These lines seldom fall, but they can be damaged by a hurricane or tornado. Tens of thousands of people could be served by one high-voltage transmission line, so if there is damage here, it gets attention first.
2. We also check our substations. CCEC has 17 distribution substations from Atlantic in down east Carteret County to Maysville to the west in Jones County. If the problem can be corrected at the substation level, power may be restored to a large number of people.
3. Main distribution supply lines are checked next. These supply lines carry electricity away from the substation to a group of consumers, such as a town or housing development. When power is restored at this stage, all consumers served by this supply line could see the lights come on, as long as there is no problem farther down the line.
4. Next we inspect tap lines, which are the lines that carry power to the utility poles or underground transformers outside houses or other buildings.
5. Individual services are typically the last lines we work since this impacts the least number of members.
“Line crews fix the remaining outages based on restoring service to the greatest number of consumers. No matter how extensive the damage or how long the outage, someone has to be the `last one’ to get power restored,” Inman said.
During major power outage events, such as hurricanes, there’s usually no need to call when your lights go out. We have a monitoring system that lets us know immediately when widespread outages occur.
However, if you are a CCEC member and lights come on around you and yours don’t, call the cooperative at 252.247.3107 to report your outage. Please, be patient; there are likely other neighbors and neighborhoods in the same situation as you.
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How you can help prevent storm outages
With activity in the tropics heating up, and with recent rains making the ground soft, any storm – big or small – is likely to uproot trees and break limbs.
During hurricanes and other powerful storms, branches and uprooted trees, both in the cooperative’s rights-of-way and on members’ property, are major causes of outages. The cooperative has a responsibility to maintain adequate clearances from its lines and equipment to provide for the safe, reliable delivery of electricity.
But members have a responsibility, too. Now is the time for property owners to remove dead limbs or those likely to break off during a storm.
Another way to help us get the power back on quickly is by making sure we have access to our lines and other facilities. Fences, outbuildings and other obstructions severely hamper our ability to get crews and equipment to poles, transformers and lines for both for maintenance and for damage repair following outages.