What should you do if the power goes out?
Electric Service is normally very reliable. However, power outages occur for different reasons. If you experience a power outage, please take the following action:
- Check your electrical panel. Look for tripped breakers or blown fuses. If there is a breaker below the meter, check it as well. Reset the breakers by switching them OFF then ON. If you have fuses that have blown, replace them with the proper size fuse. Keep extra fuses on hand.
- Contact neighbors to find out if they are without electric service. This will help determine whether or not the outage is an individual outage or a line outage.
- Turn off all electrical appliances that were on, especially air conditioners or electric heating. However, you will want to leave a light on so you will know when power has been restored.
- Turn on your portable radio and listen for a news report from Federated REA. This will occur only when there has been a major planned outage or catastrophic conditions.
- Leave doors closed on refrigerators and freezers as much as possible during outages. Food will keep much longer.
- If any member of your family is on a life-support system, notify the Cooperative so they can be placed on a priority service list.
- If it appears that the problem is with the cooperative's equipment, please call the cooperative. Provide the name on the account, the location number and telephone number.
- It should be noted that a member will be charged a service fee for outages if an outage is found to be related to the member's wiring.
- For all service outages call: 507-847-3520 or 1-800-321-3520.
What causes blinking lights?
Blinking lights are actually a sign of a properly functioning distribution system. If a fault occurs on a line (from a lightning strike, trees limbs coming in contact with a line or even an animal), a device called an Oil Circuit Recloser (OCR) opens to stop it and then closes again.
OCRs are "circuit breakers" for the distribution system, much like the breakers in your home. They permit power to continue flowing with only a brief interruption, rather than an extended outage.
Typically, the OCR will open and close three times to give the fault a chance to clear itself. If the fault does not clear itself, the OCR stays open, causing an outage. This protects the lines from damage and isolates the problem.
While these blinks are necessary, they can be annoying. Electronics with digital clocks need to be reset and computers can shut down, etc. Members can help counteract these effects by purchasing appliances with battery backups. Surge protectors with uninterruptible power suppliers (UPS) are also recommended for critical devices.
Meanwhile, your electric cooperative works to keep blinking lights to a minimum. Tree trimmers keep power lines free of interfering branches. Pest shields are installed to keep animals away. Lightning arrestors are also used to make sure members have a reliable system.
If you are experiencing blinks often, please call us so line crews can inspect the lines and equipment. It's also helpful if you can tell us the days and times the blinks occur.