Spring and summer are storm season throughout the Southeast. It sometimes seems like there will be a thunderstorm every day for weeks, and with each of those hurly-burlies comes the risk of customers losing power because of the storm.
Our commercial electrical contractors know that utility companies are doing everything they can to reduce these storm-related outages, but these efforts aren't widely known or understood by members of the public. We want to help everyone to understand the efforts that are made to reduce storm-related outages and to learn about further efforts that can be made.
Tree Trimming Programs
Electrical companies have always used tree trimming programs to limit the number of outages that are caused by tree branches falling. However, these programs often are not aggressive enough in their removal of branches, and there are only limited efforts made to remove dead, dying and poorly rooted trees from where they could affect power lines. There are complicated issues with trying to remove or trim trees that are not on government-owned property, so there is not a lot of room for the power company to improve here.
As a homeowner, you can do your part to reduce the likelihood of a tree taking out your power (and that of your neighbors) by having your trees inspected for loose branches and overall health before storm season starts. As an added bonus, this can also help to keep your family and property safe.
Improving Modern Grid Technology
Much of the grid technology currently in use across the Southeast is in desperate need of upgrading to a more modern system. One of the latest improvements in grid technology is self-healing smart grids, which can restore power to customers within a few seconds after an outage. A utility crew would need significantly more time to be able to respond, especially in a rough storm. Self-healing systems can reduce the overall operations cost of restoring power, which will ultimately pay for the system over time. However, it's a major initial investment to switch a city or region over to self-healing smart grids, so power companies have been reluctant to make the switch.
Power reliability can also be improved upon within the grid by adding energy storage to micro-grids. This energy is dispersed during short outages so that homes and properties on the micro-grid do not actually experience an outage. Power companies know that this technology works and helps, but they typically need significant investment power to implement it.