Is there anything worse than a power outage? Especially an extended one? There actually may be one thing and that is not having water. Although the two typically go hand in hand, especially in rural areas where residents rely on a domestic well pump for their water needs. There are, however, those who benefit from a municipal water system, like WFEC Manager of Marketing & Communications, Terry Mullen. During Hurricane Michael, he was without electricity but never lost his water supply which was a major blessing.
Mullen recently helped his daughter’s family relocate to a new home. They were very anxious to move in, especially after renting for several years. The family moved into their new home on the same day the other family moved out. Shortly after arriving, the family began moving furniture into the new home and cleaning. But, there was no water in the kitchen. After checking the master bath, there was no water there either. Mullen immediately realized the problem and his suspicions were confirmed when a lock was located on the main water meter. 7889010
The family that moved out left the power on but failed to notify the city to leave the water on as they previously agreed. This took place after hours on a Friday evening and it was Monday before they were able to get water.
Though there was water to the meter, there was still no water to the home. All of the neighbors on either side and across the road had water at their homes but not in the family’s new home. The same thing can happen to you when it comes to your electric service. If all of your neighbors have power but you don’t, there could be a variety of causes for the outage but it strictly has to do with the isolated service to your home. In this situation, you should first make sure your breakers are on. If so, call to report your outage immediately.
Mullen says that he also recalls a time that a tree fell in the yard at his mother's home. A limb from an old, fallen oak went into the ground and severed the main water line going to his mother’s house. Needless to say, there was no water in her home and she had no idea that a tree limb had severed the main line. The cooperative often gets comments from members saying that the power is out at their home but there is no damage in their immediate area. Another common complaint is that the power is out while there is not a cloud in the sky.
These scenarios are not uncommon considering West Florida Electric has approximately 4,800 miles of overhead powerlines in a very rural four-county service area. Some of the causes of these power outages are trees and limbs on the line, vehicle accidents, farm and heavy equipment accidents, birds, squirrels, snakes or lightning and much more.
Just as Mullen’s mother did not see damage and could not understand why she had no water in her home WFEC members often wonder why they have no electricity. As in her case there is always a legitimate reason for the outage. 97730001
The cooperative also receives questions about how electricity is restored when large-scale outages occur. When a major storm or natural disaster causes widespread damage and outages, extended outages may result. Line crews work to restore service safely to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible. This is the process that is always used to restore major outages. First, the transmission lines which supply power to WFEC's distribution system are repaired. These lines must be repaired first before distribution lines can safely receive power. Second, distribution substations are repaired. The transmission lines feed into these substations Problems could occur with the substation itself, or the lines feeding into the substation. The third area that is repaired are the main distribution lines that carry power to neighborhoods and consumers whose power is provided by WFEC. The next thing repaired is the tap lines serving homes, schools, businesses and neighborhoods. These lines are the ones delivering power to transformers mounted on poles or placed on pads for underground service. The final areas that are repaired are the service lines (individual taps) between a transformer and a residence.
The co-op can’t guarantee an uninterrupted power supply, but every employee at WFEC is committed to restoring your power as safely and quickly as possible.