One of the easiest ways members can help us increase the reliability of our electric distribution is to report trees growing near our lines and facilities. We appreciate the beauty and shade provided by trees, but tree branches growing too close to our overhead power lines can cause outages when they contact or fall on the lines, especially during severe weather such as high winds or ice storms.
Request tree-care service by calling PEC's Vegetation Management (580) 559-8482, 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Thursday, and we will send a crew to trim the vegetation near our lines. Never trim trees around power lines yourself! Working around high-voltage electric lines is dangerous and can have deadly consequences.
Pole-top fires can occur when moisture in the air combines with dust and dirt built up on power lines or insulators (used to attach lines to wooden poles) and creates a path by which electricity can travel from lines to the wooden pole or cross arm they are attached to. This is known as "tracking."
When this happens, the pole or cross arm can heat up and catch fire. The fire damage or the resulting short circuit can cause an outage, as poles damaged by fire usually need to be replaced, or the line may need to be repaired. Drought and humid weather (without rain) contribute to the risk of pole top fires, and fog, light rain, or light, wet snow can provide the right conditions for pole-top fires to occur. Insulators damaged by lightning or other issues may also cause a pole fire.
While even one of our members without power is a problem we take very seriously, to avoid posting information on our social media pages that is not relevant to the majority of our members, in most cases we try to post only information about outages that affect 500 of our active accounts for at least 30 minutes.
A generator can be a wonderful tool during an outage, but it also can be extremely dangerous if used improperly. Be aware that PEC requires a generator transfer switch (double-throw) device when you connect a generator to your home's electrical circuits. Otherwise, if a generator is online when electrical service is restored, it can become a fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home's electrical circuits may endanger service crews helping restore power in your area.
Contact PEC's Engineering department at (580) 332-3031 before installing a generator to ensure correct installation at your meter. Visit our Generators page for more tips.
Use properly rated surge protectors to provide a defense against power spikes and surges. A lightning strike or downed power line can send a surge of electricity through your home, potentially damaging appliances, computers, TVs, and other electronic equipment.
Electric surge suppression is available for PEC members' homes through a convenient program called POWERShield. Visit our Surge Protection page for details.
Consider all fallen power lines to be energized, regardless of whether they appear to be safe. Stay as far away from them as possible, and make sure your children, pets, and neighbors stay far away from the power line and any objects it may be touching. For more information on being safe around downed power lines, visit our Downed Power Lines page.
Following severe storms, damage to PEC's electric distribution system may be extensive. In that case, it could take hours, or even several days, to complete repairs. In case of severe storms and power outages, members who must have a constant supply of electricity should be prepared with an emergency backup plan. The plan could include arrangements to move to an alternate location, use of a portable generator, and/or installation of a battery backup on important electrical devices.
Members with special medical needs can be disconnected for not paying their PEC bills or for defaulting on payment arrangements. Our disconnection procedures are available upon request by contacting our Member Services Department. Visit our Contact Us page for more information. PEC provides various notices before disconnection occurs, and when applicable, works with members on payment arrangements. As with power outages, members who must have a constant supply of electricity should be prepared with an emergency backup plan.
Typically, the best source for an estimate of power restoration time is the service crew, and during an outage, they are working to locate faults and restore power, and they don't always have the time or ability (due to safety reasons or a lack of a communications signal) to provide our control center with estimates or updates. As a result, during storm-related outages, restoration information may not be immediately available or may be hard to determine with accuracy.
Each outage is a result of different circumstances, and some may take longer to identify and restore than others. Sometimes damage to PEC's electric distribution system is extensive (lines down, broken poles, etc.), or equipment locations are hard or impossible to get to depending on the conditions. Line technicians may have to patrol lines and fix problems on foot, as roads or right-of-ways may be impassable for service vehicles because of flooding, ice, downed trees, or other conditions.
We rely on crews in the field to estimate when work will be completed on a particular outage. Until line workers are sure of the cause and what repairs are necessary, it's impossible to predict how long power will be out. In those cases the estimated restoration times are unavailable.
It depends upon the cause of the outage. Remember to make sure your power is not out because of an electrical problem inside your home, such as a tripped breaker. If an electrical problem within your home is not the cause and your neighbor has electricity and you do not, more than likely, they receive their electricity from a different power line or are located on a different circuit than the circuit your home is on.