Our customers rely on us to keep the power on — and when the lights go out, it’s our job to swiftly and safely restore power. When there’s an outage, one of the first things we do is determine if we can move any of the affected customers to another energy source to minimize the outage impact while we make repairs. We call this switching.
It’s like driving with a GPS maps app on your phone. If traffic or a roadblock is ahead, the app finds an alternate route and saves you time. Similarly, electricity can sometimes be redirected when there’s a problem, like a downed line. For example, if there’s a power outage, we may be able to use switching to reroute electricity within our grid to avoid damaged equipment and restore power while crews work to make repairs.
How Does Switching Work?
Switching can happen automatically or manually. The automated switching we’ve installed on many electric circuits uses new smart technology called Distribution Automation Circuit Reconfiguration (DACR) that can detect an outage and reroute power within minutes.
For circuits without DACR, our crews handle the switching process manually. This can take anywhere from five minutes to several hours, depending on the location and complexity of the work needed. It takes longer when the manual process is required but it still helps us achieve our goal of minimizing the length of time our customers are out of power.
We work hard to keep our customers up to date. Whether we’re making improvements that might require a temporary outage so our crews can safely complete work or if there’s an unexpected outage, here’s how you can stay in the know: