ARAB, AL (WAFF) - Have you been inconvenienced by a major power outage recently? The Arab Electric Cooperative is installing fusible switches across its territory to help isolate outages to specific locations and reduce the number of people impacted.
Arab Electric Cooperative says when an outage occurs the the fusible switches will pop and isolate the outage to a specific street, neighborhood, or a smaller geographic area.
Over the next few months Arab Electric Cooperative will be installing over 1,000 fusible switches in strategic locations throughout the area. General Manager Scott Spence says the switches were purchased with the cooperative’s normal maintenance budget. He says each switch costs less than 100 dollars, but will be valuable assets to operations, providing minimal impact to homes and businesses in the area.
Oftentimes, animals, like squirrels and birds, cause cause outages by climbing poles and getting into equipment. This will not stop the animal from doing the damage, but it will prevent them from causing an outage that could go miles down the road. So how exactly how do the switches work?
“Imagine the power lines running down the road, with power poles about every couple couple hundred yards apart. These switches will be put in strategic locations. When an outage occurs, these switches and the fuses will pop,” said Spence.
“And so the power will remain on upstream from that fusible switch and downstream is where the outage will be isolated to. And so it’s going to protect the people up the line and keep the outage down the line, closer to where it actually occurred,” added Spence.
Arab Electric Cooperative hopes to have all of the switches installed by late winter. The utilities provider says the switches will reduce expenses by helping crews find the source of the outages much faster and quickly restore services to customers. Providing a better service at a lower overall cost in the long run.