Power Outage FAQ
The most significant outages are usually caused by bad weather. Ice and wind can take down lines and the structures that hold them. A lightning strike can damage the equipment needed to transport electricity where it is needed.
Anything that makes contact with the power lines can cause an outage. This includes trees, wildlife, large farm equipment, or even mylar balloons. The top picture below shows the transformer that started on fire from the blue mylar balloon tangled in it.
There are hundreds of complicated components that step the voltage up and down and carry it to our homes and businesses. These components can fail from external damage, or normal wear and tear.
Human behavior or human error can also play a part. Automobile accidents, sabotage/vandalism, switching errors, and digging can take out power.
It's rare in our communities, but an outage can also be caused by overload, when the demand for electricity is higher than can be generated or transmitted.
Also uncommon is a failure by the power supplier. Prairie Land is a distribution cooperative, and our power is purchased from a generation and transmission cooperative. If the power plant goes down or transmission lines are destroyed, power to very large regions will be disrupted.
Every once in a while, the outage is on purpose. Lines will be taken down to accomodate a large load on the highway, or systems will be de-energized to complete maintenance and repairs. Prairie Land makes efforts to notify the affected members if an outage is planned.