December 31, 2018

Why Do My Lights Blink?

Education Safety

By Tony Francone | Member Relations Representative

We often hear from members that their lights will occasionally dim or blink, and folks wonder why. There are many causes – such as a tree limb brushing the power line, heavy snow, or a gust of wind slapping the lines together.

When a tree branch brushes the power line, a temporarily fault occurs – which is what is happening when you see your lights blink. When a temporary fault occurs, an oil circuit recloser opens and the electricity temporarily shuts off. And that’s the whole point of a recloser. Its function is to protect the power line by clearing temporary faults. This actually keeps faults from causing a long power outage. The entire power line doesn’t need to be shut off because a tree branch simply brushed the line.

Temporary faults can be caused by animals, trees, weather, or people. If the recloser can’t clear the fault after a few tries, it will shut the power off completely until a crew can determine what and where the problem is and repair it. Crews are constantly working to protect power lines from animals and birds, and trimming trees away from power lines.

Even though power lines are designed to withstand blinks, we want to keep the times they do at a minimum. Trouble-shooting issues and trimming trees are part of our job and we work at it every day. Our first priority is always keeping you safe while maintaining reliable power.