Restoration plans following outages are designed to get power back on to the most people in the shortest time. Crews rely on a process recognized as an industry standard best to get power back on as quickly as possible. Hospitals, police departments, fire stations and other public health and safety facilities are priority number one.
After critical facilities are restored, the order in which repairs are made follows the path that electricity takes as it comes from the power plants to the customer.
Step 1 – Substations: Repair any damage on the main distribution lines that leave the substations. This initial step reports power to the largest number of customers.
Step 2 – Neighborhoods: Repair damage on the tap lines that branch off the main line into groups of homes or neighborhoods.
Step 3 – Individual Service: After the larger main lines and neighborhood lines are repaired, work beings to restore power to individual residences.
In summary, restoration crews begin with primary lines that can restore power to perhaps thousands of people. Then they move to lateral lines that can affect hundreds; secondary lines that affect dozens; and finally to service drops at individual homes. This is why homes in the same neighborhoods can be restored at different times and why businesses are sometimes restored first because of their high traffic locations along primary lines.