Every summer, UEC takes an extra precaution with our power lines in mountain areas to mitigate the chances of starting a wildfire.
In normal operating conditions, power lines on our electrical system are designed to shut off when trouble occurs, such as when a vehicle strikes a pole.
However, there are many instances when trouble is fleeting, such as when a tree branch brushes against a line, or the wind blows two wires together.
Using the example of branches brushing against a line, our system will automatically restore power three times, allowing the obstruction time to clear, before the power is completely shut off on the circuit.
The purpose of allowing power to be automatically restored is to eliminate a prolonged or unnecessary outage.
However, in mountain areas during fire season, we reconfigure protective equipment on power lines to a safety mode, so that it shuts off power at the first sign of an electrical fault. In safety mode, the system will not try to automatically energize.
The line won’t be re-energized until it is visually inspected and manually reset. The extra precautions are taken to further reduce the possibility of electric utility equipment starting a wildfire in hot and dry conditions.
We want our members to know that one aspect of setting our power lines to safety mode during fire season is extended outage times as we send a crew to inspect the lines before restoring power.
To help reduce the potential for outages and wildfire, UEC asks members to examine trees on their property that are near power lines. If they are touching or have the potential of coming into contact with power lines during windstorms, in some situations we would like to remove those trees or limbs, at no cost to our members.
To all UEC members, here’s to a safe and fire-free summer of 2022!