Outage Restoration 101
How TEP Gets the Lights Back On
Outages can occur for a variety of reasons, from storm and weather damage to vehicle crashes, wayward tree branches and even things like birds and balloons. TEP has one priority when an outage occurs: getting the lights back on.
Restoring a power outage is a multi-faceted task that involves highly skilled workers, specialized equipment, and logistical expertise. In an outage, it’s not always obvious why an outage has occurred or where the problem might be. TEP’s crew of first responders will drive through the affected area looking for threats to public safety, such as damaged poles and lines. Where possible, TEP’s field teams work with System Controllers to temporarily reconfigure the grid to deliver power to affected customers; however, these crews must be careful not to overwhelm the system, causing another outage.
Once the scene is secured and the problem has been isolated, the work to restore power can begin. TEP prioritizes outage restoration based on several factors.
The safety and well-being of our customers and crews is the top priority in any outage. Downed wires and other hazards presenting safety risks to the public are addressed first. Wherever possible, TEP will isolate damaged equipment in order to restore power to the greatest number of people as quickly and safely as possible.
In an outage, TEP prioritizes restoration of power to critical facilities such as hospitals, police, and fire departments. In addition, TEP also prioritizes repair of high-voltage transmission lines since these lines supply power to the entire distribution system. Substations also are prioritized because they take power from the high-voltage lines, step that down into lower voltage power, and deliver power to homes and businesses. Put more simply, power can’t be effectively restored if there are problems with the transmission lines or substations so these get priority in an outage.
Once transmission lines and substations are repaired, TEP focuses on the lines that feed homes and businesses.
The Lines that Feed Your Home or Business
Sometimes, you might notice your power is out, but your neighbor has power across the street. That’s often because houses on the same street might be served by different circuits or transformers, which may come back into service at different times.
The duration of an outage depends on the nature of the outage and the severity of damage. In some cases, what may at first seem to be a simple repair can become a more complex job as the underlying issues become apparent.
While outages are inevitable from time to time, TEP works hard to prevent outages and to respond quickly when they occur. TEP is proud of its 99.9% reliability rating and its average customer outage time of just 48 minutes each year.
The TEP outage map is a convenient place to report outages and to see affected areas. The map is updated every 5 minutes and the reasons for outages will be indicated on our map, if known. The map also shows the stage of restoration for each outage, giving you an idea of where TEP is at in the restoration process.