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Water hose tells the power repair story

Water hose tells the power repair story

Article was added on Saturday, September 15, 2018

Pat Howle uses a water hose to explain how electric service is restored to homes that have lost power. He admits that a water illustration may not be the most welcome image for South Carolina residents in a hurricane's path, as they face still-to-come heavy rains of up to 12 inches. 

The high winds that are sweeping through the state are causing widespread damage, from parts of the high-voltage transmission system that supplies electric substations to lines on the other side of substations that lead to neighborhoods and individual homes. 

A leaking garden hose with one hole near the supply faucet where it is attached and a few more holes near the end, provides a simple illustration for the priorities line workers face when they restore power outages. 

  "Imagine you're the bush at the end of the hose and that you need some water, even if that's a bit of stretch while we're in a storm," said Howle, CEO at Horry Electric Cooperative.

The hole in the hose that must be repaired first is the one near the connection to the faucet. Otherwise, no water will get to the holes near the end, much less the one at the very end that's supposed to be soaking the bush.

"It's the same with repairs to the power lines near your electricity-free house," he said. 

Electric cooperative members get understandably curious when they see repair crews pass by a damaged line near their home. They want it fixed now. But it's vital that repairs are made further up the line where damage, when repaired, will deliver power down the line to that house and many others. 

"That's the order we follow because that's the most efficient way to get everyone's power restored," Howle said. "Believe me, every utility works this way."


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