“Blinks” Can Signal a Properly Working Electrical System

We often hear the question from members “What causes my lights to blink?” The utility network is subject to certain short-term losses of power, and Arrowhead Electric takes all possible measures to prevent these occurrences and minimize the affects to our members. Blinking lights are a result of momentary outages that occur when some type of disturbance exists on the line. This could be a lightning strike, an automobile striking a pole, or when a squirrel or tree branch comes into contact with an energized power line.

When lights blink, it is an indication that the cooperative’s equipment is operating properly. If a fault or short circuit happens on a power line, a device called an “oil circuit recloser” (OCR) opens to stop it, then quickly closes back in. Although the process is quick- and usually temporary- it may cause your lights to blink, making it necessary to reset digital clocks and appliances with digital displays.

The OCR is essentially a breaker, functioning much like a breaker in the electrical panel in your home. It permits power to continue flowing through the line with only a brief interruption of service-rather than that causing an extended power outage. If the short circuit continues, the OCR will operate or ‘trip’ three times before eventually stopping the flow of electricity and causing a power outage. This process protects the lines from damage, cutting off power to the affected section of the line and isolating the problem until it can be repaired.

Although the weather and nature’s creatures are beyond our control, customers can lessen the effects and inconvenience of “blinks” when they occur. When purchasing small appliances and digital clocks, consider a model with battery backup. You may also want to install meter-base surge protection for the major appliances in your home and surge protection with built-in uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for your computer or other electronic devices whose “memory” would be lost with a power interruption.

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