Coping with mother nature is a big challenge as we strive to provide you with the most reliable electric service possible. We work with the best technology available, perform regular maintenance and train our employees to spot system hazards.
Still, Mother Nature throws us some curves from time to time. Lightning, ice storms, fires, floods and tornadoes are just a few of the formidable challenges our highly qualified technicians face.
Tree limbs bent or blown over during harsh weather are a regular concern. Even animals can be a problem. Squirrels, snakes, turkey, vultures, ants, woodpeckers and other critters can cause interruptions when they come in contact with electric equipment.
Here are just some of the measures we take to keep interruptions to a minimum:
- Crews regularly trim tree branches along distribution lines.
- Lightning arresters on transformers direct lightning safely to the ground.
- Wildlife guards and insulated cables keep animals safe from transformers. Electric fences keep raccoons and snakes out of substations.
Providing uninterrupted power during times of peak load is a major priority, so South Plains Electric chooses wire sizes and transformers that can handle the job. We install fuses, sectionalizers and reclosers to minimize areas of interruption. In addition, multiple ground connections help protect the system, equipment and the general public.
If an interruption does occur, technologies such as supervisory control and data acquisition systems automatically locate outages, which minimizes the time linemen must spend physically searching for obstructions to lines. They can go directly to the location of the problem and get the line or transformer repaired more quickly than ever before.
Other Hazards for Our Employees
Distracted driving is another hazard our linemen face when working along roadsides. South Plains Electric urges motorists to slow down and pay attention in work zones while driving.
The Texas Move Over Act requires drivers who are approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the roadway with emergency lights flashing to do one of two things: move out of the lane nearest to the emergency vehicle or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. While lineworkers are not specifically included in this law, we ask everyone to apply the Move Over Act guidelines when approaching South Plains Electric Cooperative work zones.
Power poles and electrical equipment line our streets and highways, and narrow roadways often require crews to place their equipment in traffic lanes. Their work activities are often taken for granted but benefit us all, and like everyone, they deserve a safe workplace, especially when working to restore power during storms. Be alert to utility crews and other work zone workers for their safety as well as yours.
Whether we are keeping the lights on by building a resilient system and doing proper maintenance, or we are trying to get the lights back on after a power-disrupting event, just remember—“we’ve got this.” Your Co-op is working to provide electric service you can count on.