What Are Those Blinks?

Blinking lights are a result of momentary outages that occur when some type of disturbance exists on the line. Electrical systems are susceptible to any of the following that can cause a fault or a short on a power line:

  • Lightning strikes
  • Animals and tree branches coming into contact with energized power lines
  • Automobiles striking poles

Because electrical systems are built to function safely and efficiently, a device called an “oil circuit recloser” (OCR) acts essentially as a breaker, functioning much like a breaker in the electrical panel in your home:

  • The OCR opens to stop the fault, and then quickly closes back in, resulting in a “blink” in power
  • If the disturbance on the line persists, the OCR will continue to operate or “trip” two more times and then remain open, resulting in a power outage

This is actually a safety mechanism, protecting the system, the electrical equipment hooked up to the line, and cutting off power to the affected section of the line in order to isolate the problem until it can be repaired. Otherwise, the fault (and the outage) would affect everyone on that particular substation feeder.

While “blinks” may be a temporary aggravation, they are actually indicators that our system is functioning properly. The next time you experience a “blink,” be assured that our system is operating properly, protecting electrical equipment and ensuring that as few members as possible experience any resulting outage.

How power is restored during an outage  

Protect your electrical equipment!