CEC Reminds Members to Turn Off Heat Pump Breakers if Widespread Power Outage Occurs

As severe weather that could cause power outages approaches, Community Electric Cooperative is reminding members to help prevent a phenomenon – Cold Load Pick Ups (CLPU) – that could interfere with efficient restoration of service. Cold Load Pick Ups occur during winter storms when power is restored and then lost again due to heavy demand, or load, as the system is re-energizing.

The main cause of CLPU is a large number of electric heaters and heat pumps coming on at the same time. The heavy load causes circuit breakers to trip automatically to protect the system from overloading, and the flow of electricity is disrupted again.

To help prevent CLPU events, the cooperative is asking members who have lost power to turn off the breaker switch to their heat pumps. All other breaker switches can remain on. Once power is restored, members should leave the heat pump breakers off for about 30 minutes to provide sufficient time for the system to “settle out” after restoration. After 30 minutes, turn on the breaker and gradually raise the temperature of your residence to a comfortable level.

“We understand that people are eager to have power on and the household back to normal, but exercising just a little more patience once a widespread outage occurs will help ensure that everyone has reliable service without further complications. We’re asking for your help in preventing Cold Load Pick Ups by gradually turning on furnaces and other items that require larger amounts of electricity,” said Glen Presson, CEC’s Manager of Operations.

The severe weather that is approaching is expected to reach CEC’s service territory beginning Friday night. The cooperative is preparing to respond quickly and safely to its potential impacts on the electric system. Line technicians are prepping trucks with all necessary supplies and materials for any outages that may occur as a result of the storm. System operators are monitoring the cooperative's power system and weather on a 24-hour basis, and all other employees are on high alert, ready to respond to member needs, including the cooperative’s member service contact center. CEC has coordinated with co-ops in surrounding areas and states for potential assistance.