Electric power leaves our power plants every minute of the day and moves through a complex network of overhead power lines and underground cables to reach our customers.
- When electricity leaves a power plant
- Its voltage is increased at a "step-up" substation.
- Next, the energy travels along a transmission line to the area where the power is needed.
- Once there, the voltage is decreased or "stepped-down," at another substation,
- And a distribution power line
- Carries the electricity until it reaches a home or business.
We Energies strives to maintain steady state voltage within limits established by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW). However, all electric distribution systems are subject to occasional voltage variations. These variations, even when within PSCW limits, can cause the sensitive electrical equipment within your facility to operate incorrectly.
Our electric system is designed to sense unsafe or unstable conditions that affect the flow of electricity on a power line. Certain power quality events caused by acts of nature, construction mishaps or equipment failure are generally out of our control.
When the distribution system senses a disturbance, the electric current is automatically interrupted by a protective device. One type of protective device we use is a recloser, which is similar to a fuse or circuit breaker. In most instances, within a few seconds, this electrical device will safely reclose the circuit to restore power and help isolate the effect. Occasionally, the device will reopen because the problem still exists or because the devices still sense unsafe conditions, causing momentary interruptions and flickering lights.
The overall reliability of the circuit is actually increased when reclosers are used. The operation of such devices means that the system is operating effectively. Without these devices, a power interruption would continue until a utility employee could manually restore the power.
Were working hard to eliminate as many of the causes of these interruptions as we can. In addition to performing upgrades to our equipment, were involved with major tree trimming initiatives to lessen the likelihood of storm-related outages. Were also partnering with construction contractors to educate them on the safe and proper excavation methods to use around our buried underground lines.