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Outages & Power Restoration

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Woodbury County REC strives to provide our members with safe, reliable, and affordable electric power. But outages happen.

Some of the sources of those outages are acts of nature, such as falling tree limbs, curious animals, ice build up, lightening strikes and wind.  Outages are also caused by vehicle  accidents, dig-ins and vandalism.

Woodbury County REC also knows that some outages can be caused by mechanical problems.  Patrolling the lines and doing maintenance is given a high priority.  Please notify us if you see a situation such as a badly leaning pole, that could cause an outage, later on, so that we can remedy the situation before an outage occurs.

Understand the difference between an outage and low voltage and how power is restored. To report an outage, call our office at 712-873-3125 or 1-800-469-3125 or contact us via our website contact form. We will need the following information:

  • Your name
  • The name on your account
  • Your account number
  • A phone  number associated with your account
  • A phone number where you can be reached
  • Time and/or location of the outage

What is "Low Voltage"?

Power surges (excessive voltage) can overload or burnout unprotected equipment sometimes damaging or shorten the life of light bulbs and other common electrical devices.  Low voltage (brownout/insufficient voltage) will not damage light bulbs and will have no permanent effect on many electrical items.  But low voltage can cause motors, transformers and other electrical devices to work harder that can cause overheating and burnout.  Either of these conditions may cause the sensitive micro circuitry in some household devices to malfunction and/or be damaged.

Before calling into the Woodbury County REC about low voltage please have the information to answer these questions:

  1. Your REC location number.
  2. The name the account is in.
  3. Be ready to verify address and telephone number.
  4. If you have multiple accounts, which ones are included in this outage
  5. Length of time you have been out.
  6. If your neighbors are out.
  7. Checked your fuses or breakers.

What do I do if I have no electric power?

If you find yourself without power:

  1. Check the fuses or breakers in your home. Check the breakers below the meter if the meter is located on a yard pole or any other outdoor disconnects to make sure the outage isn’t due to a tripped breaker or blown fuse.
  2. Call your neighbors to see if their power is off. This will help you determine if the problem is outside your home.
  3. Call our office to report the outage. Please do not take for granted that the outage has been reported. Woodbury County REC’s phones are answered 24 hrs 7 days a week. Call either 712-873-3125 or 1-800-469-3125.  When you call to report the outage please have the following information handy:
    1. Your REC location number.
    2. The name the account is in.
    3. Be ready to verify address and telephone number.
    4. If you have multiple accounts, which ones are included in this outage
    5. Length of time you have been out.
    6. If your neighbors are out.
    7. Checked your fuses or breakers.
Outside of regular office hours, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, you may be talking to our answering service. If the answering service is experiencing a high volume of calls you may be transferred to an automotive system. Please follow their prompts so that your information can be taken. This saves you from being put on hold.

Some tips on what to do when the power goes off:

  • Turn down your thermostat and turn off the circuit breaker for your water heater. This will help reduce initial demand for electricity when power is restored.
  • Turn off and unplug other electrical equipment, including computers, microwave ovens, and televisions. This is to protect your equipment in case there is a change in voltage as the power comes back on.
  • Do not turn equipment on until lights have returned to their normal brightness.
  • Open the refrigerator and freezer doors as seldom as possible so cold air stays inside until the power comes back on. Food will stay frozen for about two days in a full freezer, or about one day in a freezer that is not full.

How is power restored?

Calls from our members are important in identifying the severity and impacts of an outage. 

Once an outage is reported, our line crew is activated. Our staff are able to determine what type of outage we have by the number of members who report an outage.  If only one person calls our office, Woodbury County REC crew heads for that place because it is probably an individual or isolated outage. If our office receives a handful of reports, our crews will look at other causes, but if our office receives several calls from many different locations they know that there may be a problem at the sub station. Never hesitate to call in and report an outage. Contact us.

In the event of a storm, the Woodbury County REC implements its disaster plan. Having a specific plan to handle major emergencies allows your REC to get electric service restored to the most members in as short a time as possible.

A power restoration plan works like this:

Our linemen will check the substation. If there is no power coming from the substation, there won't be power anywhere else.

Restore power distribution to the power lines (three-phase lines). Once the three-phase lines are restored, farms and businesses who are served by these lines will have electricity.

Restore single phase line. Once the single phase line has been re-energized, linemen will concentrate on individual homes to get them up and running.

For a visual representation of how power gets restored,watch this video created by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

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