FAQ

Reclosing Circuit Breakers

When will my power be back on?
MGE crews will restore your electric service as quickly as is safely possible. How quickly depends on a number of factors. For example:

  • When it happens: During the day when we're fully staffed we can respond faster than at night or weekends when we have to call crews in.
  • Where the problem is: When snow or fallen trees block the roadways or the damage is in back lots where we cannot use our trucks, restoration will take longer.
  • How extensive the damage is: A single broken wire is significantly faster to repair than a neighborhood of broken poles and wires tangled in tree branches.

After a storm, tree-trimming crews must remove limbs and debris from damaged lines before MGE line crews can repair them.

  • If we can isolate the problem and reroute the electricity to another circuit, your power may be back on very quickly.
  • Typically in good weather with no other contributing factors, MGE can restore power within 2 hours of most occurrences.
  • In good weather, a broken pole with all of its associated equipment typically takes a 4-man crew 4-8 hours to replace and rewire.

Outages in an area of underground service can take significantly longer to find, isolate, diagnose and fix than overhead lines.

What is my responsibility for getting electricity restored?
MGE will remove tree limbs tangled with wires. Never try to do this yourself. Always wait until MGE removes downed wires from the limbs and conditions are safe before cleaning up other fallen tree limbs on your property.

You own some of the equipment that brings electricity into your home (see illustration). If any of these items are damaged, do not inspect yourself as the equipment may be energized. Call a qualified electrician to fix them immediately. These repairs must be done before our crews can restore your service. MGE crews cannot repair customer equipment.

MGE and Customer Electrical Property

Why does my power "blink" during a storm?
The protective devices on MGE's distribution system are doing their job.

Devices called reclosing circuit breakers or reclosers briefly interrupt the flow of current when an electrical surge, short circuit or other problem is detected on the line in an attempt to clear it.

Reclosers

  • Protect the electric system from severe overloading.
  • Increase overall service reliability.

If the problem cannot be cleared, the circuit will stay open and a longer outage results.

Why can't MGE accurately predict when my service will be restored?

  • We can provide rough estimates but need field reports from our crews to:
    • Understand the full extent of the damage.
    • Know what will need fixing to restore service.
  • Crews are focused on restoration and don't always have time to communicate.
  • Weather can hamper restoration and cause further damage.

Why do crews leave my neighborhood before the power is on?

  • To repair damage on the supply line to your house/business.
  • More materials or equipment may be needed.
  • Crews may be called to a more immediate public danger or a vital public service location.