Power outages can happen unexpectedly or be scheduled for routine maintenance or necessary repairs. Learning about outages can help you stay safe and prepared for when they happen. Our goal is to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.
Why Power Outages Happen
Outages can happen for many different reasons, including:
- Mylar balloons - The most common type of outage and has been the #1 cause of outages in the last 10 years (see more on Mylar balloon outages below)
- Squirrels or other rodents and birds coming in contact with power equipment
- Traffic accidents: Power lines can be damaged when cars crash into utility poles
- High temperatures: Heavy use of air conditioning can overload power lines and transformers and underground vaults
- Weather: Heavy rains, continuous drizzle or high winds causing cable failure
- Falling tree limbs such as heavy palm fronds, branches or tree debris
- Natural disasters: Earthquakes and fires can damage power equipment and networks
- Fire Mitigation Measures: Red flag warnings, potential hazards, dry/high heat temperatures combined with wind (see more below on Fire Mitigation)
- Scheduled outages: If we have notified you in advance that an outage is required to maintain infrastructure or trim trees. (see below for more information)
What to Expect During an Outage
Our crews work hard to restore power as quickly and safely as possible and are available 24/7. Depending on the type of outage and the amount of damage, the time it takes to restore power may vary. We encourage you to make safety your top priority until our crews can locate and repair damage. You may not always see or hear our crews during an outage, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t out there working hard to restore your power. Remember: Never go near a downed power line. Even if it’s not moving it could be energized. If you see a downed power line call 911.
How We Restore Your Power
Glendale Water & Power is a distinguished Reliable Public Power (RP3) Award recipient. That means we are really good at providing reliable power, by having fewer outages, quicker restoration times, and maintaining our infrastructure to continue to provide you with reliable power. We know outages are frustrating, and our crews are on standby 24-7 to restore power quickly. In fact our reliability is unmatched as our response time is faster than most other utilities. Once an outage is reported, our team pinpoints the location and cause of the outage and sends out crews to repair.
Below is an infographic and step by step process of how we restore your power:
- Repair Transmission Lines: High voltage lines that carry power from the city’s power source to substations serving thousands of customers. They rarely fail, but it is possible. Since trouble on a transmission line affects thousands of customers, it gets attention first.
- Substations: Point where high voltage is lowered to feed distribution lines. If we can fix the issue at the substation, we can get power back on for a large number of customers. Substations act as a distribution and switching station.
- Distribution or Feeder Lines: Lines that carry power to a large group of customers. This is our second priority. We patrol the individual lines, working our way down the system from the substation. Feeder lines serve 1,000 to 3,000 customers and are usually the lines affected when you hear of a power outage.
- Neighborhood Tap Lines: Lines that move power from feeder lines to individual streets. They feed pockets of 20-30 homes each.
- Individual Service Lines: Lines that serve individual homes and businesses. Repairing these lines takes the longest because sometimes damage can occur on the service line between your house and the transformer on the pole. This may be why your neighbor has power, but you don’t.
Even if there aren’t any power poles in your neighborhood, the same types of repairs will be made in the same order for underground vaults when there are power related issues.
Protection & Safety – We clear live power lines and repair equipment that poses a safety hazard first. The goal is to bring power back on to as many customers as possible while making repairs, with special attention given to certain critical facilities, like hospitals and police and fire stations. Lastly, the safety of our crews is also of utmost importance. As ready and reliable as they are, they work tirelessly through the night and at times need to reenergize, rest or have additional help come in so they perform the work safely.
How to Report an Outage
We usually know when there is an outage, however you can still call to report an outage because it could sometimes just be affecting your home as a result of a tripped breaker.
- Call (818) 548-2011 24/7 as we have a messaging service that answers calls (this # can also be used to report electric and water emergencies). If we are experiencing a high volume of calls, it might ring busy, and we set a pre-recorded message informing you we are aware of an outage and are working on it.
- Tweet us @COGwaterpower or Direct Message (DM) us if you follow us and we can DM you back with questions especially if you heard or saw something. We don’t always respond directly to you on social media, but know we have seen your post and have reported if we hadn’t already.
- Report it through our Mobile My Connect App bit.ly/mycnnct.
If you do not follow us on twitter and want go get updates or information, our twitter feed is live on our homepage www.GlendaleWaterandPower.com. We don’t provide minute by minute updates, since crews are responding, trouble shooting, and restoring power, but we will provide updates when we have new information.
Mylar Balloon Outages
Although frustrating, these outages are very common problem for all utilities. Mylar balloon outages can last just a few minutes, or cause extensive damage and outages last longer and require additional repairs in the future. At times we have to have a mandatory outage, just to remove the balloons from the lines before they cause any damage. This is to protect our employees so they can remove the balloons safely. Click here to review information and safety tips on Mylar balloons.
Maintenance or Scheduled Outages
Our primary job is to keep your electricity on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Upgrading and modernizing the grid is part of our long-term plan to keep the grid reliable now and for the future. We also at times require scheduled outages in order to trim trees that have come into contact with power lines and post a fire hazard. To keep our crews safe, we may need to shut your power off temporarily while we make these necessary upgrades. We understand that turning your power off is an inconvenience. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
What to Expect Before a Maintenance or Scheduled Outage
- We’ll notify you at least two three days before a maintenance outage.
- The timing can change due to safety reasons. This means that a maintenance outage can be rescheduled or cancelled or it could end earlier than planned.
What to Expect The Day of a Maintenance or Scheduled Outage
- You may see our crews in your neighborhood. This could mean road closures or increased traffic in the area. You may want to add some extra time to your commute.
- Keep in mind that we may need to turn the power off and on more than once during the outage.
- As soon as we have information from our crews about when the power will be restored, our Outage Search Tool will reflect it.
The City of Glendale and GWP recognize that the potential loss of property and human life posed by wildfires is a growing concern. The state of California recently passed Senate Bill 901 (SB 901) to provide guidance to electrical utilities in mitigating the risk of wildfires ignited by the utilities’ electrical assets. The Wildfire Mitigation Plan (Plan) we are currently preparing details GWP’s efforts to mitigate the risk of igniting and spreading wildfires while complying with SB 901. GWP’s Fire Mitigation Plan will be presented to the GWP Commission on September 5, 2019 and will be adopted by the Glendale City Council by January or 2020.
Be Prepared During An Outage
With some preparation, you can keep your family safe and comfortable during an outage. Always have flash lights and extra batteries ready. We recommend not using candles during an outage due to fire safety issues. Below are some safety reminders:
- First, check for blown fuses or tripped circuits that may be the cause of the loss of power. Also, see if your neighbors have power. This will help determine whether there’s a larger electric outage. Sometimes one side of the street will not have power, while neighbors across the street do.
- Switch off the lights (except one). You can help prevent damage to your electronics and appliances by unplugging them -- computers, stereos, televisions and air conditioners. After the electricity is restored, you can plug them in again.
- Get updates from a battery-powered radio during a storms or emergency situation. If it’s a hot day, find relief from the heat at a nearby cooling center.
- Keep a fully charged cell phone on hand. During power outages, you may lose phone service, and your cordless phone may also lose power.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. It helps keep the food cool. Before eating food items, check them for spoilage.
- Never light fires or charcoal indoors. If you are cold during a power outage, wear multiple layers of warm clothing.