Richland Energy Services makes every effort to provide customers with uninterrupted electrical service, but sometimes conditions beyond our control can cause power outages. Power outages can be caused by many circumstances like weather, vehicle accidents, small animals, and trees. Keep reading for more information on the most common power outage causes in our area.
Lightning - Utility poles, wires, transformers and other electrical equipment are easy targets for lightning strikes as they can be the tallest object to serve as a conductor and the lightning's quickest path to the ground. This causes equipment damage and loss of power. Lightning also strikes trees causing them to fall onto power lines and cause outages.
Wind - High winds can blow trees into power lines causing them to fall to the ground. Severe winds can break utility poles bringing down extensive portions of the infrastructure that delivers power.
Snow and Ice - Winter storms are a threat to electrical equipment when the weight of ice that has built up on power lines causes them to break. Tree limbs heavy with snow and ice can break falling onto and breaking power lines.
Rain and Flooding - Heavy rain and melting snow can cause flooding and damage to both overhead and underground electrical equipment.
Heat - Very hot weather stresses power lines and distribution system components contributing to equipment failures and causing a power outage.
Vehicle Accidents - If a vehicle damages a utility pole or ground transformer an outage can occur.
Small Animals - When animals climb, fly, or slither onto equipment, such as transformers or fuses, they can cause a short circuit interrupting the flow of power.
Trees - Even in good weather, a falling limb or tree growing into a power line can cause an outage if it contacts power lines. For more information about the City's tree trimming program, visit us at www.ci.richland.wa.us/TreeTrimming
What causes my lights to flicker or power to go off then back on quickly?
A momentary outage, which customers see as flickering or dimming lights or a brief loss of power are caused by short circuits. They are most likely due to damaged underground cable or other distribution system components.
The distribution system is designed to interrupt the flow of power whenever it experiences a fault, or short circuit, to prevent damaging equipment. The system quickly opens and closes a system breaker up to three times automatically attempting to clear the problem. These quick power interruptions result in momentary outages. If the system determines the fault is cleared, power is restored automatically. If the fault doesn’t clear, the breaker remains open causing a longer outage until Operations can switch customers to another circuit or dispatch crews to repair the equipment.