takes more than 45,000 miles of overhead power lines, 250,000
utility poles, and 103,000 transformers to bring electric power
to homes and businesses throughout Allegheny and Beaver counties.
Most of the time, this equipment works well and electricity is
there when you want it, at the flip of the switch.
If the power does go out, our crews are committed to doing
whatever it takes – including working around the clock, regardless
of weather – to get your power restored. From the service
representative that takes your call to the worker that climbs the
pole to repair the wires, here's how the people of Duquesne Light
work to get your life back on.
- We learn about power outages in several different ways. One
is through our equipment in the field. We have two-way
communication links with each of our 300 major substations and
with more than 800 individual switching devices on top of utility
- Every one of these devices can sense when there's trouble,
and automatically send a signal to our Distribution Operations
Center (DOC) notifying us that there has been a problem.
- The Operations Center is staffed around-the-clock, 7 days a
week, 365 days a year. As is the Customer Call Center, which
continually relays outage information to the DOC.
- In some cases, the DOC team can restore your power without
ever leaving their desks by using a computer to open and close
the automatic switches on the pole top devices to isolate the
area where the problem occurred.
- That's what is happening when you experience a power flicker
or brief outage, In fact, under normal conditions, this system
can get the power back on in just about five minutes for two of
every three customers effected on a typical 23,000-volt
- To get power back to the remaining customers, the next step
is to find out just what caused the problem and how extensive the
damage is by sending a troubleshooter or technician to the site.
- Our workers have to travel on the same highways and face the
same problems other drivers do. Duquesne Light trucks, cars, and
vans are not considered emergency vehicles. If the weather has
made travel difficult or slow-going, it may take us a while to
get to the site of the power outage.
- Often this effort is well worth it, especially when the troubleshooter is able to
restore power by fixing the problem right on the spot. We have
troubleshooters working around the clock.
- If the damage is too extensive for one person to fix, such as when wires are down between utility
poles, or when a transformer or pole is damaged, the troubleshooter will call for a repair crew,
explaining the exact nature of the problem so that the crew comes
prepared with all the equipment it needs to make the repair.
- Many times, we have to call a tree-trimming crew to the site
to remove tree limbs or entire trees before we can even get to
the power lines.
- In severe emergencies, we bring in additional help, including
technicians and other Duquesne Light workers, crews from other
power companies, and private contractors.
- When the repairs have been made, our Call Center
representatives call some of the customers in areas affected by
the power outage to make sure their electric service has been
We've carefully prioritized restoration activities to take action
in the most efficient way possible.