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Four Steps to Restoring Power After an Electrical Outage

Video Credit: NRECA

When the power goes out in Missouri, you know that your rural Electric Cooperatives step into action. But have you ever wondered exactly what happens behind the scenes in order to get your lights back on?

In this post, we’ll share the four main steps that your local Cooperative takes when it restores your power after an electrical outage. Before we explain those steps, though, let’s talk for a minute about how your Cooperative gets power to you, our Member-Owners.

From Generation to Transmission to Your Home
Your Missouri Electric Cooperative has to generate electric power in order to share it with you. Most of that power comes from coal, wind, and natural gas power plants in Missouri and Oklahoma, but it can come from hydroelectric power plants or from distributed energy sources like our Member-Owner’s own solar fields, too.

Power moves along high voltage transmission lines from the plant to your local substation, where it’s “stepped down” to a lower voltage. That lower voltage power is then distributed from the substation to your home.

When your power goes out, your Cooperative follows four key steps to restore your electricity. Generally speaking, these four steps go in order from the biggest repairs on high-voltage transmission lines and substations to the smallest repairs on the tap lines and transformers outside your home.

Your Cooperative might follow these four steps to restoring power after an electrical outage in order, or it might assign lineman to work on more than one part of the system simultaneously. Whichever approach your Cooperative takes, its goal is to restore power to the most people in your service area as quickly and safely as possible.

Four Steps to Restoring Power After an Electrical Outage

Step 1: Repair High Voltage Transmission Lines
The first step in restoring your power is to repair any damages to the high voltage transmission lines that carry electricity over long distances, supplying power to thousands of Member-Owners.

Steps 2 & 3: Inspect Distribution Substations & Main Distribution Lines
If your transmission lines are in good shape — or once necessary repairs are finished — the next step in restoring power is to inspect your distribution substations.

Distribution substations serve hundreds or thousands of Member-Owners, stepping high voltage power from transmission lines down to a lower voltage that your Cooperative’s main distribution lines can handle. Once linemen have inspected and repaired any damages at your substation, they can examine the main distribution lines that carry power your service area.

Step 4: Examine Tap Lines
When high voltage lines, distribution substations, and main distribution lines are all in proper working order, lineman can repair the tap lines that deliver power to the transformers outside of the homes businesses, and schools in your community. Lineman will also examine the transformers, themselves, when necessary. 

Restoring Power as Quickly as Possible After an Outage
Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives work tirelessly to get your power on again as quickly as possible after an outage. Our goal is always to restore power to the greatest number of Member-Owners in the shortest time possible, while giving priority to emergency and medical services.

We use our best judgment in order to restore power quickly and safely. This post outlines four key steps your Cooperatives use to restore power during an outage, but this post isn’t intended to cover the detailed approach your Cooperative will take under every possible outage scenario.

To learn more about how your Cooperative restores power after an outage, contact your local Cooperative office. If you’d like to learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, in general, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

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