About Power Outages
To receive power, your home must be permanently linked to a generating station. However, most generating stations are far away, and the electricity must travel a long and complex path to reach you safely and efficiently. Defective equipment along this path can cause outages.
EPCOR's electricity distribution system is designed to bypass defective equipment to ensure a continuous power supply.
to Your Home or Business
The electricity produced in Alberta comes from generating stations located all over the province and sent through transformers which step up the voltage (as high as 500,000 volts) so that large quantities of energy can be transported to major centres, sometimes hundreds of kilometres away. When the electricity nears load centres, it is stepped down in several stages to the voltage normally used to supply homes (120 volts).
But, sometimes things can go wrong along the path. As you can see, electricity goes through numerous transformations and travels long distances before it reaches you. Due to problems in your own home, your neighborhood, the distribution centres, along the transmission lines, or something else even hundreds of kilometres away, you may be inconvenienced by the occasional power outage.
Main Causes of Power Outages
Natural phenomena such as wind, lightning, freezing rain, iced-up lines, wildlife and snow cause the majority of power failures. Tree branches in contact with power lines can also cause an outage.
Although EPCOR's equipment is rigorously maintained, problems can occur. Cables, connectors, transformers, switches, and many other types of equipment can fail, accidentally triggering an outage.
A residential customer can cause an outage by working with a ladder or antenna too close to power lines, or by hitting a buried line when doing excavation work. Traffic accidents can also affect the power supply if a piece of power equipment is hit and damaged.
Occasionally, EPCOR intentionally interrupts service in order to conduct certain maintenance or repair work that cannot be safely handled any other way. EPCOR keeps these scheduled interruptions to a minimum and attempt to schedule them for the least inconvenient times.
Regardless the source of the outage, you need to know what steps to take during a power outage and how to prepare.