Power Quality FAQ

Power Quality FAQ
frequently asked questions
Why does my neighbor have
power and I don’t during a
power outage?
attempting to restore electricity. If the
power fails to come back on, a techni-
electricity –
circuit breakers –
cian is sent out to investigate and deter-
All customers receive electricity from
mine the cause of the outage.
a substation. Electricity is delivered to
you from a circuit at one of the transformers in the substation. Although
How many customers can be
served from a substation?
you and a neighbor may be located
A substation may have up to four
on the same street, both of you may
transformers. Each transformer can serve
be on a different circuit. If so, it is likely
approximately 10-12,000 homes. There-
that during a power outage only one
fore, a substation can provide electric
of the circuits was affected.
services to up to 48,000 homes.
Why do my lights sometimes
turn off and then come back
on within a few seconds?
What should I do in the event
of a storm to protect my
Our electric system has many protection
Surge protectors can help. However, for
devices that operate automatically when
the best protection possible, turn off
an outage is detected. This helps ensure
and unplug all electronic equipment.
power to our customers is restored as
TV cable lines and phone lines should also
quickly as possible. These systems can
be disconnected to protect those devices
operate as much as three times when
from power fluctuations.
generated at a power plant, solar
or wind farm, delivers power to
substations through high voltage
transmission lines.
automatic protection switches
located at substations, are designed
to protect circuits from damage
when an excessive current is present
or a disruption occurs. This causes
the breaker to switch off and will
reset once the problem is resolved.
reclosers –
fuses –
automated protection switches
strategically placed on power
poles, switch off when a circuit is
overloaded. The recloser resets
once the problem is resolved.
electrical protection devices on
power poles, open when a problem
is detected which stops the electricity from flowing through the line.
The fuse is replaced once the
problem is resolved.
Should I unplug devices during a
non-storm related power outage?
Why do my lights flicker
when my AC comes on?
services to a home or business up to the
Yes. Disconnecting devices will help protect
During start up, AC units draw a large
be either to the weatherhead or to the
them against power fluctuations when the
amount of current that can result in
meter can.
electricity is restored.
momentary decreased voltage. This
Should I turn off the breaker
to the AC unit?
fluctuation is normal, depending on
the size of your AC unit.
point before it enters a building. This can
How does CPS Energy determine
who gets reconnected first during
The process is to reconnect hospitals
there can be fluctuations that can adversely
Is underground service
more reliable than overhead?
affect the unit.
Underground lines are less susceptible
essential utilities such as water pumping
to damage from lighting, winds and
stations, then circuits with the most
What does my breaker box do?
vehicles. However, locating issues that cause
customers affected before addressing
A breaker box is designed for safety and
outages takes longer since they cannot be
isolated outages.
protection inside the house. If an electrical
easily seen as with overhead equipment.
Yes, if possible. When the power returns
problem is sensed, a breaker will open
to cut the power to that plug or switch
reducing the risk of a fire hazard related
Where does the power
come from?
or other critical care facilities first, as well as
What do I do if I see a downed
power line?
DO NOT go near it. Treat all downed lines
Electricity is made at a power plant. From
as if they are live. Contact (210) 353-HELP
there, the electricity travels through high-
(4357) to report the location as soon as
What if I only have an outage
in part of my house?
voltage transmission lines to a neighbor-
The issue may reside in the breaker box.
substation before being sent to homes
You may want to reset the breaker but
through distribution lines. The power is
if it opens again (trips), we recommend
reduced again at a transformer before
you contact a licensed electrician.
entering your home or business at the
to overloaded circuits.
Do I need to call if I have
a power outage or does
CPS Energy already know?
hood substation. Voltage is reduced at the
required voltage.
Yes, always call to report an outage. Our
What is CPS Energy responsible
for at my home or place of
system can detect outages on a large scale
Aside from ensuring the electric meter
but depending on your particular situation,
is working correctly, CPS Energy is
a phone call may be necessary.
responsible for delivering electric
To request a power quality investigation
call 210-353-2222
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