The true priority of power restoration

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The true priority of power restoration

#1 Postby drewschmaltz » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:24 am

This topic is a continuation of a discussion that started in a storm thread. It came up that an electrical engineer familiar with power grids said that living near hospitals or fire stations has no affect on the speed of power restoration.

For years I have heard things like:
- An important person lives near me, we get our power fixed first
- Our grid is larger, it is priority
- More affluent areas are priority
- I am on the same grid as hospital / fire station, we have priority

Does anyone with first hand experience know the truths behind power restoration prioritization?

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Re: The true priority of power restoration

#2 Postby Bobd33 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:47 pm

Worked for a hospital system a few years back. Each hospital was fed by up to 3 substations. Each substation was connected to at least 2 "grids". In the event of a power outage that did not automatically correct or swap to a live substation they do have a priority arrangement to get power restored. This may not occur until the winds are below 45 MPH and access to the best fix is available. if you happen to live by one of the substations they use and it is live, you may luck out and get power. Depends on what happened between you and the substation.

During Wilma we lost power for 5 days due to an open breaker. Just needed to be closed. Our neighbor hood has underground power supply. As we consisted of only 117 homes it took FPL 5 day to get around to us. They actually told us larger areas were being serviced first. All it took was a long fiberglass pole and 1 push to get us back up. That year I installed a whole house generator. :sun:

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Re: The true priority of power restoration

#3 Postby sponger » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:16 pm

I live behind a special needs shelter that is a middle school. We got power back in 44 hours after IRMA while Publix up the street was out for 5 days. Prior to the school being built, it was a week for Francis. After priority electricity is restored, its numbers. If your community has 4000 homes, you will get priority. If you are on the end of a street with 6 houses, you are near last.
The following post is NOT an official forecast and should not be used as such. It is just the opinion of the poster and may or may not be backed by sound meteorological data. It is NOT endorsed by any professional institution including For Official Information please refer to the NHC and NWS products.

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Re: The true priority of power restoration

#4 Postby GeneratorPower » Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:15 pm

I am an electrical engineer in power generation. I design generator systems for a living. Most of my jobs are in Florida, and I do both residential and commercial jobs. I don't work for the power company, but I do get to see telemetry from all of our installed generator systems across Florida. I can tell you that for any one particular home or business, you may be without power for 3 weeks even when your neighbors are back within hours or days. There are so many factors that it's impossible to determine if you're in a favorable location or not.

People that say "we're on a hospital grid" or other such things are trying to reduce the perceived risk of an outage in their own mind. There are psychological reasons for this, including normalcy bias. The fact is that even the most reliable power systems can fail. At my house, we're on a fairly reliable part of the power grid, but I also have a 25kW Cummins standby generator as primary backup. But even with all this, we keep an extra portable generator, plus batteries, plus power inverters, and finally glow sticks. It's all expensive but it has to be a priority if you live in South Florida.

The fact is you cannot depend on "priority" in any power outage to save your butt. That's just unwise. Depend on preparedness, and don't depend on just one backup source of power. Generators can and do fail. Have multiple plans.

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