Planned Outages: A Matter of Safety

Most of the system improvement and preventive maintenance Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) crews perform can be done safely without de-energizing the power line. And when possible, we do the work and continue distributing power to our members without an outage.

There are some times when safety dictates that a de-energized line and an outage are necessary to complete the work. When this is the case, MEC operations field crews and call center coordinate to arrange in advance for a planned or scheduled outage.

MEC Engineering and Operations Manager Jerry Hardy says most of our planned outages are required to replace a pole. When poles are identified for replacement either through MEC’s pole testing program or by field crews, the replacement is prioritized and scheduled.

“We make every effort to keep the outage time as short as possible. Hole digging and material preparation are done ahead of time, before the outage and transferring the lines and equipment to the new pole,” says Hardy.

Planned outages are also required to connect new service for members in an area served by underground power lines, or to replace electric system equipment.

“Although planned outages are infrequent, we want members to know if they will be affected so they are aware and can make plans if needed,” explained Hardy. “Please take a few minutes to make sure your contact information is current on your Mohave Electric account so we can reach you with important information.”

MEC communicates with members by automated phone messages and email to notify about a planned outage, a few days before the scheduled day and time whenever possible. Shorter notice may be necessary if there is an urgent situation, such as public safety concern or to prevent a larger unplanned outage. If the member account indicates “medical necessity”, our call center representatives will personally contact the member by phone.

To check if your phone number and email are current on your Mohave Electric account: Log into SmartHub. From the menu, select “settings”, then “contact methods”; “phone”; and “email.” Or call (928) 763-1100 and a member service representative will help you with your SmartHub settings.

Types of Planned Outages

There are many reasons why MEC has planned outages. Here are some examples of the work our crews perform to maintain safe, reliable electricity for our members.

Substation Maintenance

Just like your car, substations need periodic maintenance to ensure system reliability. Occasionally this work requires a planned outage. Recurring inspections evaluate equipment for proper operation, help reduce unplanned outages, and prevent future problems.

Proactive Equipment Inspection Replacement

MEC’s preventive maintenance programs include inspection and testing of electric system equipment, and replacement when needed, to prevent damage to other equipment and larger outages. Examples of equipment replacements that may be scheduled include transformers, insulators, arrestors, poles, and overhead and underground electrical cable.

New Service / Equipment Upgrades

As new neighborhoods are built, equipment needs to be installed to provide electricity to the new residents and businesses, and sometimes electrical equipment needs resizing to accommodate increased usage and load demand. A planned outage would be scheduled for these system improvements.

Transmission Provider Outages

MEC distributes power to members and purchases this power from generation and transmission providers such as Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO). Just like MEC’s equipment requires maintenance, replacement, and upgrades, our power providers’ transmission lines and generation facilities sometimes require planned outages too that could affect Mohave Electric Cooperative members.