Here at Central Electric Cooperative (CEC), we work hard to keep the power on for you and your family each and every day. To keep the lights on, we maintain over 3,000 miles of line and 62,000 poles for all of our 25,000 members across seven counties throughout Western Pennsylvania. Yet, sometimes strong storms can wreak havoc on our system by bringing down branches and trees, breaking poles and causing damage.
When your power goes out, we know how important an estimated time of restoration (ETR) is for planning the rest of your day. While CEC is able to meet most ETRs, many factors can interrupt or prolong the restoration process. Because most ETRs are sent before crews arrive at the scene, CEC may not know the extent of the damage when ETRs initially go out. For example, if crews arrive and there’s a broken pole, it will take much longer to restore power than if a fuse blew. In that case, we know a typical broken pole takes about three hours to fix, so we adjust your ETR by three hours. But, there are a variety of ways a broken pole could be atypical – causing even more of a delay to restoration. We do our best to keep ETRs updated if additional time is needed, but CEC is only able to estimate the required work processes.
When outages do occur, power restoration starts by creating a safe, efficient plan. Multiple crews will be dispatched to start repairing power lines and equipment that will restore power to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible. This process typically begins with repairs to the larger, main distribution lines that serve a greater number of homes and businesses. Then crews work on smaller lines called taps, which deliver power to transformers. Finally, individual service lines that run between transformers and homes are repaired.
How can you help crews when your power is out? One of the best ways to help crews restore your power as quickly as possible is to always report your outage. There are several ways members can do this. You can call CEC’s outage line at 800-282-8610, report the outage on SmartHub, or text the word “out” to our dedicated SmartHub number – if already a registered SmartHub user with a text enrolled mobile number.
Please keep in mind that during a major storm ETRs will be disabled due to the large number of outages, widespread damage, and potentially dangerous weather conditions. It is very hard to provide ETRs with such disruptions to our system. Members can check CEC’s online outage center and outage map for more information during storms and outages.
Our employees are committed to getting your power on as quickly and safely as possible – and are always on call in the event of outages. We appreciate your patience during outages and hope you know we are truly doing everything we can to get all members’ power restored as quickly and safely as possible.