What causes power outages?

What causes power outages?

Small animals and birds

Outages occur when animals, especially squirrels and raccoons, climb on transformers or fuses and cause a short circuit


Trees falling on power lines or tree limbs coming into contact with power lines are frequent causes of power outages and "blinking lights" even in good weather. Holmes-Wayne Electric works to maintain right-of-way clearances using contracted tree trimmers.

HWEC crews repair damaged
3 phase pole after auto accident

Vehicle Accidents

Vehicles coming into contact with utility poles are another common cause of power outages.


Poles, wires, transformers and other electrical equipment are easy targets for lightning strikes, causing severe damage and loss of power. Lightning may also strike trees, causing limbs or large trees to fall onto power lines.


Wind may cause power lines to swing together or limbs/trees to blow into lines resulting in a fault or a short circuit that interrupts services.


Weight of ice can cause broken lines or poles. One inch of ice on an electric line between poles (one span) weighs up to a half ton or 1,250 pounds. If equipment is covered in ice, slight winds can cause poles and lines to come down. Also, heavy ice can bring large trees outside of the right-of-way down onto lines creating outages and damaging infrastructure.

Equipment Failure 

Although Holmes-Wayne Electric inspects and monitors equipment throughout our service area, transformers, aging underground power lines and other electric system equipment sometimes fail.  This happens more frequently when the temperature is very cold and very hot. 

Power Supply Outage

We depend on American Electric Power (AEP) and First Energy Transmission lines to deliver the electricity from our generating plant to our substations. When they have an outage on their transmission lines, many co-op members are affected as well. In some cases, we are able to transfer power from another substation to restore power for many of those members and reduce the time of the outage while the transmission supplier fixes the problem.


Even underground power lines are susceptible to outages. Before digging, you must call Ohio Utilities Protection Service at 1-800-362-2764