How long does it take to fix a power outage? A power outage can take anywhere from 10 minutes all the way up to a week or so to fix as well.
Isn’t that a long time range?
The reason is that the fixing of a power outage is dependent on quite a few factors. To get an idea about the time range, it is essential to look at these factors. Once you do so, you can gain an idea regarding the timeframe it takes to fix the power outage.
Factors affecting restoration of power:
I will now highlight some factors affecting the restoration of power.
1. Cause of damage:
In most cases, natural calamities cause the greatest damage, resulting in a power outage. Smaller problems like tripping and others do not lead to a power outage. In most cases, the power grid has a backup for these problems.
Only when the power grid is damaged due to some or the other reason, a power outage occurs.
The power outage cause will determine the timeframe which it takes. For example, if there has been a storm or a category 5 hurricane, it can take even a week to restore power.
If the cause is more like a pole falling or something, the power outage can be fixed within a few hours.
As you can see, the time period in which the power outage gets fixed depends on the cause.
Sometimes, diagnosing the exact problem in the power grid also takes time. In case the problem is big, like an electric pole falling or a burnout, detecting the problem is easy.
However, smaller problems are not easy to diagnose. Not all the grids are smart grids. Due to the same, the time which it takes to diagnose the problem also determines how soon the power outage can be fixed.
3. Extent of damage:
After the diagnosis of the outage, you have to determine the extent of the problem. That is what the engineers of the power company will do next.
If the extent of damage is on the higher side, it can take three days to 7 days to fix the power outage. On the other hand, if the extent is minuscule and localized, the power can be fixed quickly as well.
For example: In some cases, when the cause is pretty small, like a wire getting burned, the fixing can be done even quicker.
The extent of damage is another factor that needs to be taken into account when it comes to power outages.
4. Resources at hand:
In urban areas, most power companies, as well as utility companies, have immense resources. Developed countries always have backup resources to fix power outages as well.
In that case, power outages are faced quite quickly.
It is not true for developing economies or countryside cities. In that case, fixing power outages can take longer as well.
The resources at hand is another factor which determines the time period in which the power outage is fixed.
These are the four factors that determine whether the power outages are fixed in as low as 10 minutes or takes as long as a week.
Now that you are aware of the parameters let us look at the different stages of power restoration.
Different stages of power restoration:
Once you go through the different stages of power restoration, it is easy to understand why it can take such a lot of time to fix a power outage.
The 1st stage is the assessment of the average. During this stage, the line workers physically monitor the entire grid. If the grid is smart, the problem can be located remotely as well. After that, an actual physical inspection takes place.
During this stage, the trained workers also decide whether the power outage poses any hazard in terms of loose wires or pole falling. In a nutshell, this stage involves determining the problems and ensuring that they do not pose any danger to any living being.
2. Repair stage:
The repair stage is the actual stage where the repair work takes place. It can take place remotely if the problem is digital, or it can take place physically if the actual infrastructure is damaged. In most cases, on-site repair work is done to ensure that the infrastructure is back up and running in no time. This is the stage which needs the most time.
The last is the stage where the power is restored. However, it is not as simple and quick as it seems. During the restoration as well, there can be quite a few problems like:
- Tripping of circuit
- Transformer breakdown
And so on
Due to this reason, restoration can take some time as well. The restoration on stage requires some trial and error as well to ensure that the repair work has been done correctly.
As you can see, it is not as simple as just turning a switch on. There are various stages of fixing a power outage.
Many times, power outages occur after sunset. That is when the question arises are power outages fixed at night? I will answer that below as well.
Are power outages fixed at night?
Power outages can certainly be fixed at night. However, a lot depends on the power outage cause as well as the extent. There are a few problems which can be fixed to write during the night time. These include:
If the power outages due to tripping, it can be fixed during the night time itself. In many cases, the backup transformer comes online, and the power can be resumed digitally as well.
2. Minimal infrastructure repair:
If the power distruption is due to a fall in the pole or a broken wire, in that case, the 24/7 use of the utility company can fix the power outage at night as well.
3. Faulty circuit breakers:
Even the circuit breakers have a long lifespan, but sooner than later, they require replacement. The good news however, is that replacing the faulty circuit breakers is easy. If that is the cause, power outages can be fixed at night as well.
These are some of the small problems which can be fixed during a single night.
However, if the problem is any bigger than this, it will require longer to fix the power outage.
Why it takes so long to fix a power outage?
It is often not possible for the utility company to conduct a proper diagnosis soon after the power outage. For example, if the power outages due to a cyclone, the inclement weather needs to subside before the utility company can diagnose.
Once the cyclone has subsided, after that, only diagnosis will take place. In that case, the utility company might have to wait up to 12 hours to 16 hours.
Similarly, in case of flooding, the waters need to recede, and only after that, the diagnosis can occur. Such events delay the diagnosis of the problem by a significant amount. Consequently, the fixing of the outage takes time.
2. Fixing the problem:
Many times, the problem is not as simple as it seems. Fixing the problem alone could take days as well. That is another reason why there is no fixed time for fixing a power outage.
3. Resource procurement:
Not all utility companies have all the resources in spare. Many of them need to procure the resources depending on the problem. Procuring resources can take days. That is also a reason why fixing an outage can take long.
4. Fundamental problems:
In some cases, the problems might be more fundamental like overloading of the grid or reduction in electricity production. In both these cases, the power outage requires a more long-term solution. While the power outage might be fixed, for the time being, it will occur again and again. In that case, consumers suffer from multiple intermittent power outages for the next few weeks.
5. Last mile connectivity
Electricity grids require last-mile connectivity. Last-mile connectivity is not only expensive but also time-consuming. If the towers have fallen, it might take some time to erect them. Erecting them cannot be speeden up as you need to cement the towers in place.
The last mile connectivity, if disturbed, can certainly take a long time to fix. That is another reason why power outages are not so easy to fix.
6. Lack of manpower:
Fixing a power outage requires skilled workers. Most utility companies always have backup teams. However, they often need to fly in an engineer or a diagnostic team to tackle the problem. In that case, it can take time to diagnose or fix the problem.
If the workforce is lacking, it can certainly prolong the time it takes to fix the problem.
There are plenty of reasons why fixing a power outage can take time. Not always; it is a matter of turning on the grid. Many times, the problem is much more complicated.
The answer to the question, how long does it take to fix a power outage varies from one outage to another. Similarly, there are quite a few factors that can delay the fixing of the power outage. In a nutshell, there is no fixed answer to these questions.