What are some of the biggest factors affecting reliability?

Most outages are caused by one or more of the following:

  • Storms: High winds, lightning, and heavy rain can cause damage to power lines and transformers, leading to power outages. Ice storms can be especially damaging.
  • Trees and vegetation: Trees and vegetation can cause damage to power lines and equipment, especially during storms. Tree trimmers and contractors work year-round to keep our rights-of-way clear of trees that are likely to cause problems.
  • Wildlife: Wildlife such as squirrels and birds can cause damage to power lines and equipment, leading to power outages. Heartland has placed animal protection equipment on many of our most sensitive pieces of equipment.
  • Equipment failure: Power outages can occur when equipment such as transformers, generators, and switching gear fail. Ongoing inspections help to minimize this issue.
  • Transmission problems: Heartland is dependent on generation and transmission from outside sources to provide power to our substations, which in turn distribute power to the homes and businesses on our system. If there are problems with the transmission lines, this can cause large-scale outages to the members served by the affected substations.

It's important to note that power outages can happen for multiple reasons and sometimes it's a combination of different factors that lead to power disruption. Heartland has plans and procedures in place to respond to every kind of outage, but sometimes it can take longer depending on the complexity of the problem. During larger outages, members are encouraged to watch our Facebook page for updates.