Responding to electric emergencies during a pandemic

Providing our community with the highest level of service is a commitment we don’t take lightly. It is one that has not been forgotten during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As an essential services provider, for the past several months, we have worked to ensure our community receives the vital services they need. Keeping the lights on and natural gas flowing is critical for the city and its residents, and that’s why we have continued to work diligently to plan for growth and maintain reliable service.

One important group of employees that helps manage the grid for our customers is the Troublemen.

Comprised of 28 employees, our Troubleman team is our “First Responders” to any power outage emergency reported by one of our 860,000 electric customers.  Because customers need electric service 24/7, it’s important we are always available for them.  A job that hasn’t stopped during COVID-19.  Since March 1, they have responded to more than 20,000 calls and have replaced more than 1,800 lightning arrestors and fuses combined. Lightning arrestors and fuses are two different types of equipment that can save homes, transformers, and other pieces of equipment from getting damaged by the jolt of electricity caused by a lightning strike.

READ MORE: Safe pandemic practices have been developed across all departments at CPS Energy

The job of a Troubleman requires them to be the first responders on the scene whenever a customer’s lights go out. They are also called on whenever firefighters need to have electric service shut off to buildings or homes during emergencies. Troublemen work alone, they arrive at the site and determine the cause of the power outage. In most cases, they can resolve the issue. However, sometimes the reason for the outage requires a crew to perform extended work before the power can come back on. Crews are often called on to set a new utility pole in place, pick up live wires off the ground, and placing them back on pole tops, or to remove trees and limbs from our infrastructure.

IS YOUR POWER OUT? Visit our outage center to report and check the status of an outage

The biggest challenge for a Troubleman is locating the fault or the cause of the outage. Working alone can sometimes be a daunting task especially when the work requires patrolling an electric line at night, in the rain, or other adverse weather conditions. These are all obstacles that can slow down the restoration process.

Electric Troubleman Fabian Dominguez works to restore power during a rainstorm.

The job hasn’t changed for our Troublemen during this pandemic, they continue to work to provide reliable service to every customer. The only change now is their approach. Their enhanced safety procedures in response to COVID-19 ensures the utmost protection for employees and customers while maintaining a high level of service for our community.

As an essential service provider, we will always be here for our community. We understand the importance of reliable electric and natural gas service for you and your family, and we will continue to uphold our People First philosophy as we work to meet the needs of our growing city. 

John Moreno

John is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.