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Current Light Flashes

The official voice of West Florida Electric Cooperative:

May 2024

Diagnosing & Mitigating Blinks

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It's a clear sunny day with not a cloud in the sky... Suddenly, the room goes dark for a few seconds. Then, power returns along with the clanging and clunking sound of appliances and electronics "rebooting" around the home or office.

So what just happened? Many people assume an electrical power surge just occurred. Actually, an automatic circuit recloser (ACR or recloser) just opened, then "reclosed" resulting in a momentary interruption of power - this is also known as a "blink."

Automatic circuit reclosers quickly respond to problems on an electric utility's power grid. They are similar to circuit breakers in your home, but different due to their ability to automatically reset themselves to restore power quickly.

Reclosers have been used to protect electric utility systems and members' homes since the 1950s. Few members even knew about reclosers or blinks until manufacturers started building digital alarm clocks in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These new digital clocks maintained time by synchronizing with the 60 Hertz frequency of the utility power wave form.

A typical recloser will open and close 3-4 times before "locking out" due to its inability to clear the line. Once this occurs, a utility service vehicle needs to be dispatched to figure out what is wrong with and make repairs to the distribution line being protected by the locked out recloser.

So, why do electric utilities continue using reclosers? Quite simply, reclosers allow for quick power restoration in a matter of seconds rather than over an hour if a service truck needs to be dispatched to troubleshoot a line or replace a blown fuse.

Contact the co-op if you are experiencing an excessive number of blinks at your home or business by calling 800-342-7400.

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