Electricity is a service we often take for granted – until there is an outage. This is when we realize just how much we rely on it to power almost everything we do.
To understand a power outage, it helps to know how the electricity grid works. The main components are generation, transmission, and distribution.
A power outage can be caused by a fault, disruption, or equipment failure at any point in the grid. When this happens, all services downstream of the outage get bumped offline. If a tower line topples over, as happened during the 2013 ice storm, everyone on that circuit loses power.
When there is a major power outage event as what happened on May 21 when severe storms produced an F2 tornado that swept through Uxbridge, it is all hands on deck as each part of the electricity grid was affected. Each organization activates their emergency restoration plan, collaborating to systematically prioritize the repair work.
The emergency restoration plans prioritize the repair work as follows:
In Part 2 of Anatomy of a Power Outage, we take a closer look at the sections of the electricity grid, how these are affected by a disruption, and how teams work together to restore power.