Power Restoration Estimates

We know accurate estimates of power restoration are important to you. Our estimates are the best we can predict with the information we have at the time. Unexpected things happen that can change how quickly we are able to restore power. We work as quickly as is safely possible to restore power. We will update our estimates as new information becomes available.

The initial estimate of how long it will take MGE to restore power is calculated based on historical restoration data, the time of day and the type of outage reported.

Once our crews are on site and able to investigate the situation, they will provide our distribution system operators with a more detailed assessment and an on-site estimate of when your power will be restored.

Sometimes as the restoration work proceeds, our crews encounter additional problems, the situation is more complex than first predicted or the weather can cause additional damage. In these cases, they will communicate with our system operators who will update the estimated restoration times.

Many things can impact restoration times:

  • Extent of the physical damage, for example:
    • If snow has blocked the streets, snow plow crews will need to clear a path for our trucks, equipment and repair crews.
    • When damaged trees and broken branches are tangled with electric lines and broken poles, the power feeding the affected lines must first be shut off so tree-trimming crews can remove enough debris to free the lines and allow them to be repaired.
    • If equipment has been damaged, replacements need to be located, loaded and hauled to the site for installation. Replacing poles and transformers takes much longer than just putting a line back up.
    • To restore power to individual homes and businesses, all the electrical infrastructure from the power plant to the customers—including transmission lines, substations and distribution lines—must be intact before electricity can flow into the neighborhood.
  • Ongoing weather conditions, for example:
    • It is not safe for our crews to work on tall poles in high winds.
    • Making repairs during bitterly cold or extremely hot weather will take longer.
    • Continuing rain/sleet/snow/wind can cause additional damage.
  • Outage location, for example:
    • It is more difficult to identify the cause of an outage on underground lines than overhead lines.
    • A damaged line in a neighborhood backyard that's not accessible by bucket truck and requires individuals to manually climb poles will take longer to repair than a line along a street.
    • If the damage is limited to a major distribution feeder line, service to more people will be restored more quickly with just one repair than if there are a number of smaller outages impacting the same number of customers.
  • What other customers are impacted, for example:
    • We give highest priority to situations that threaten the public safety such as downed live wires. We'll make the situation safe first and may not immediately repair it if other locations are higher priority.
    • We give higher priority to restoring service for essential health and safety services such as police and fire stations, hospitals, municipal water and sewer locations.
    • Restoration work will be prioritized for situations that restore service to the largest number of customers most quickly.
  • Time of day, for example:
    • During weekday business hours, MGE is fully staffed to respond quickly, with crews and trucks already working around our service area.
    • During the night and weekends we maintain limited staffing and may require additional crews to be called in from home. It will take longer for them to report to work, load needed equipment and drive to the outage location.
    • Non-business hours may also require more time to locate any special equipment needed for the repairs.