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What Are Rotating Power Outages?

by GoPower 14. March 2016 07:45

A rotating outage is a temporary and scheduled electric outage conducted under utility control that lasts approximately one hour, depending on circumstances. An utility company manages and rotates the outages to protect the integrity of the overall electric system.

Controlled, rotating outages become necessary when the utility company declares a Power Emergency. Under these circumstances, without controlled, rotating power outages on a relatively small scale, a widespread disturbance to the electric grid could occur, which would lead to uncontrolled, large-scale outages.

As soon as a Power Emergency is declared, utility companies usually contact the news media, especially radio and television stations, which are encouraged to broadcast the news immediately. Because utility companies may have as few as 10 minutes after a Power Emergency is declared before rotating outages begin, individual notifications are not possible.

Following local regulations, the utility company identifies the circuits available for use in rotating outage. A circuit is an electrical line that supplies power to a combination of residential and/or commercial customers within a given geographical area. These circuits are usually arranged into groups. The amount of power required to protect the overall electric system will determine the number of groups that are interrupted at any one time. The groups will be interrupted, as operating conditions permit, and each outage is expected to last about one hour, sometimes more or less depending on the location. At the end of the determined time slot, service is restored to the affected groups and the next groups on the list will be interrupted to maintain the amount of load deemed safe. Once a group has been used in a rotating outage, it is moved to the bottom of the list.

Utility companies cannot guarantee uninterrupted service to any customer; however, most keep track of all customers who have applied for, and been certified as, "critical care" customers (those who cannot be without electric service for more than 2 hours) according to state regulations. These customers are not exempt from rotating outages and it is important to have an emergency plan that includes a back-up generator unit available to power in-home medical equipment. The back-up power generation should be tested each month to ensure it is ready in case of an emergency.

At Americas Generators we offer an extensive selection of back-up emergency generators starting at 3kW and powered by diesel or natural gas. Contact one of our associates at (305) 592-6800 and we will help you choose the perfect back-up generation solution for your home or business. 

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