You’re not alone in the dark

Jimmy Liverman, Vice President of Engineering & Operations

Electricity powers our lives. We depend on it for nearly everything we do. So, we understand how frustrating it can be when you’re left in the dark.

Power outages are never convenient. It takes a lot of hands to keep your power on, and even more hands to get it up and running when an outage occurs. Roanoke Electric Cooperative works hard to restore your electric service when outages occur, but there are necessary steps to take to ensure that power is restored to the majority of members as quickly, and safely, as possible.

After a major storm, Roanoke Electric Cooperative line crews must identify which towers, poles and lines have incurred damage. Very rarely, but occasionally in the case of a major storm such as a hurricane or tornado, transmission towers can be damaged. If that is the case, tens of thousands of members could be affected. Repairing damage to transmission lines is top priority when it comes to restoring power.

High voltage transmission stations feed power to Roanoke’s 12 distribution substations. These substations serve thousands of members. If there is no damage done to transmission towers, the local distribution substations are checked first. If the issue is isolated and can be resolved at the substation level, great! That means thousands of people can get their power restored at once.

At times, the issue cannot be isolated to one of our distribution substations. If that is the case, Roanoke’s crews inspect supply lines between the substations and the meters they serve. If the supply lines can be repaired, power can be restored to the towns and homes those lines serve, as long as there is no damage to the tap lines.

Tap lines carry power to the transformers located underground or connected to poles outside of homes and other buildings. Our line crews identify which damaged lines to work on first based on which lines will restore power to the greatest number of members.

Many times, the issue is resolved once the tap lines are repaired. But have you ever lost power only to look next door and see the lights still blazing from your neighbor’s window? When this happens, it generally means that the service line between your home and the nearby transformer has been damaged. If this happens, call our outage line right away so we can send a line crew to your home.

Power restoration can be a tricky business, so if you lose service in your home or neighborhood, please remember the following:

  • Stay clear of downed power lines. Contact with these lines could be life threatening.
  • Report the outage by calling 1(800) 358-9437 or text OUTAGE to 352667 as soon as possible.
  • Make sure to inform us if loss of power to your home affects life support systems or could cause any additional threat to health and safety.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation whenever an outage occurs. For more information on outages as well as service updates, stay connected with your cooperative on Twitter and Facebook, or check our website at