Outage Cause FAQs
Questions about what causes outages? We've got answers!
Major Causes of Outages
Power blinks typically occur when something comes into contact with a power line or protective device, creating a quick rise of electrical current. The brief delay usually lasts less than two seconds and is most often caused by trees, animals, and lightning. Learn about these brief service interruptions and how we work to minimize their impact.
Trees in Right of Way
Our team trims trees year-round to maintain the right-of-way. How much they trim depends on your tree. Additionally, Cobb EMC contracts qualified, independent contractors to apply herbicide mixtures to our right-of-way to prevent regrowth after trees are removed. Learn more about how these efforts allow us to maintain our electric service reliability.
Storms come and go, but a constant challenge for Cobb EMC are wildlife and reptiles, which cause daily power outages on our system. Squirrels, birds and raccoons can damage our overhead and underground lines, while snakes often hide inside our equipment. Our teams work hard to minimize interruptions by installing guards and barriers to protect our equipment from animals.
Unexpected outages can occur when a vehicle knocks over or bumps a pole. Learn about how to stay safe if you are in a vehicle accident involving downed power lines. Construction equipment such as cranes can also come into contact with or accidentally tear down our lines. When this happens our crews team up with local emergency agencies to ensure the community's safety while we set to work restoring power.
High winds, snow, ice and other weather events can cause power outages. When storms and dangerous weather events occur, it can cause downed power lines, extended power outages and dangerous road conditions. We work 24/7/365 to prepare for major weather events and provide a resilient electrical distribution system. We also encourage you to use our resources to prepare and protect your family before, during and after a storm or major outage.
Contact With Our Lines
Phone, cable and construction companies can damage our underground lines by cutting into cables. If you have a construction project on your property we encourage you and your contractor to call 811 to minimize damage to our lines.
Other outage causes you may see on Cobb EMC’s outage map:
Assessing Outage Cause: Our outage map will reflect an outage cause labeled “Assessing Outage Cause” when the outage is first reported. When our crews arrive on-site and start working to restore power, they will update the outage cause to inform you of what caused your power outage.
Equipment Repair: We work year-round to maintain our more than 9,000 lines of miles and equipment. But equipment can be faulty, need repair, or wear out, which may cause us to create a power outage while the repair is in progress.
Planned Outage: Cobb EMC members may request to turn their power off for repairs in their home, or we may see a need for repairs and routine maintenance. These kinds of outages occur from time to time and will also be reflected on the outage map.
3rd Party Power-Supply Trouble: While Cobb EMC safely and reliably distributes electricity, we also work with 3rd party vendors who supply our electricity needs to distribute to our members. Very seldom, there may be issues with our electricity supply, which could cause a power outage.
Cause Unidentified: You will see “Cause Unidentified” for your outage cause in the outage map if our crews are on-site and cannot tell the origin of the outage.
Unclassified (e.g., balloon): Many other elements could cause an outage that is not reflected in any other outage cause category. One example is when a balloon gets tangled in one of our lines. For these scenarios, you may see an outage cause “unclassified”.
Frequently Asked Questions About Outages
When you report your outage, a member care representative makes sure your outage’s address is loaded into our outage management system. A crew is then dispatched directly to the outage. It is important to call in any outage; the more information we receive, the faster we can assess damage and dispatch crews where they need to go. See the steps to restoring power.
The main goal is to safely restore power to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible. Power is not restored in the order of the reported outages. Power must first be restored from the substation, and then crews work their way out to individual homes. See the steps to restoring power.
Many of the subdivisions in Cobb EMC’s service district have underground service to homes. However, at some point, the service to the subdivision is overhead. If you live in a subdivision and the power is out during a storm, then the initial cause of the outage is located somewhere outside your subdivision.
An electrician. Your electric meter (round and enclosed in clear plastic) is owned by Cobb EMC, but your meter base (the rectangular metal box mounted on your home or business) does NOT belong to Cobb EMC. If it’s damaged, you’ll need to contact an electrician to make repairs before we can come out to reconnect service. By law, we can’t connect power to a damaged meter base. In some cases, your electrician’s repairs will require a county inspection before we can reconnect service. Please talk this over with your electrician at the time of service. Learn more about member and Cobb EMC responsibility and visit our list of vetted contractors.
In most cases, Cobb EMC crews can restore power to your home if the service line simply came loose from your house and no other damage was caused. However, if any equipment (e.g., the mast pipe, weather-head or meter base) has been pulled off your house by a fallen tree, by law Cobb EMC cannot restore power to your house until this is fixed. You need to contact a licensed electrician to repair this situation before power can be restored. In some cases, your electrician’s repairs will require a county inspection before we can reconnect service. Please talk this over with your electrician at the time of service. Learn more about member and Cobb EMC responsibility and visit our list of vetted contractors.
During power outages, Cobb EMC crews are working in the outage areas. You may see a Cobb EMC crew ride by your house during an outage. Do not attempt to "flag them down." If a Cobb EMC truck is seen riding by, they are typically going to the initial location of the outage or assessing the problem to determine how they can most efficiently get power restored to your area.
During an outage, Cobb EMC crews work around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible to all members. The more severe a storm, the longer it could take to restore power. If main lines are down, they have to be repaired before service can be restored to neighborhoods and to individual homes. On our outage map, click on the outage icon (circle shape) for your area to view more details about the outage, including an estimated restoration time.
If you are the only house on your street without power, then it is possible that something has fallen on the service line to your house, or that the power to your house comes from a different location than your neighbors. Call Cobb EMC at 770-429-2100 to report your outage and power will be restored as quickly as possible.
Cobb EMC cannot guarantee as to when the power will be restored or that certain accounts will be given priority over others, so there should always be a contingency plan in place for patients who have a medical necessity for electricity. This includes backup power, extra medical supplies or an alternate location during an outage. Make sure prescription supplies are adequate and have a first-aid kit handy.
Download our app to easily report an outage and access our outage map. Additionally, the outage center and outage map are accessible through the web browser on most mobile devices, including Android, iPhone and iPad.
The Estimated Time of Restoration (ETR) is the amount of time Cobb EMC expects it will take to restore your power after an outage. When you report an outage to Cobb EMC, you will receive a system-generated ERT based on historical outage data. As more information becomes available, Cobb EMC may update your ERT. View our outage map guide for more information.
During bad weather, your (ETR) may be extended based on conditions. For example, it can take up to eight hours or more to change out a pole, depending on conditions.
Several areas within Cobb EMC service district map boundaries are served by multiple utilities. While the map shows some general boundaries on the service district, the best way to confirm whether or not you are a Cobb EMC member is by checking your electric bill or by calling our member care team at 770-429-2100.