Steps involved in restoring power after lines go down - FOX Carolina 21

Steps involved in restoring power after lines go down

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Crews work on power lines (AP image) Crews work on power lines (AP image)

The electric cooperatives of South Carolina want residents to be aware of the many time-consuming steps involved in restoring power once power lines are damaged or downed.

SCEC spokesman Lou Green detailed the ten steps involved in repairing a single span or electrical cable. Green said a "span" is the length of conductor wire between two poles.


First, the weight of ice on trees or the wire itself breaks the wire or poles, Green said.

Second, he said the tension on the wires may pull it the length of a football field and damage other spans or poles.

The third step is when the repair crew arrives, Green said. It may be a bucket truck or it may be line workers who climb poles with gaffs (an apparatus worn on the lower leg).

Next, Green said if poles have been broken, simply removing the 400-pound broken pole, re-digging a hole, and setting a new pole can take as much as 45 minutes per pole.

Fifth, the ice must be broken off the wire for the entire span being repaired.

Sixth, line workers must pull the broken wire back into place.

Next, Green said a new span of wire is put in place and connections between existing and new wire spans are made.

Then, the wire is connected to the pole-top transformers.

Only then can the service wires (that go from pole to home or business) must be re-strung and connected, Green said.

Lastly, Green said lines must be re-energized by manually closing the circuit in the field (at the fuse, main line or substation).

Green said this ten stage process must be repeated for every span of wire that is damaged.

"It can add up to many hours for only a few spans of wire," Green said. "Then in a frustrating and not uncommon turn of events in an icing situation, another section of that same power line can later break because of the weight of ice on nearby lines or trees."

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