Electric system circuit

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WHAT IS IT? An OPPD circuit receives power from a substation and distributes it to customers over a defined portion of our service territory. Within the city, a circuit can cover a few square miles and hundreds of customers. In our more rural areas, a circuit can cover a much larger area.

HOW DOES IT WORK? By dividing an electrical system into circuits, OPPD can more efficiently serve demand and keep circuits electrically isolated from each other. This isolation limits the number of customers impacted in the event of an outage. This is similar to your home, where you can turn the power off in the living room via the circuit breaker, but leave power on everywhere else.

When there is a problem that can cause an outage, OPPD has many devices in place to limit the number of customers who will see an interruption before the entire circuit locks out. This is why some outages are limited to one house, a couple adjacent houses, or an entire neighborhood. If the problem is severe enough, it can impact all of the customers on a circuit.

OPPD’s circuits don’t follow strict boundaries defined by major streets or other landmarks. Instead, utilities arrange them in a manner that makes the most sense electrically. This can lead to instances where a neighborhood or subdivision is powered by several different circuits. This is very noticeable when an outage occurs and half the street has power while the other half does not.

Back to OPPD’s Storm & Outage Center

Laura King-Homan

About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the managing editor of The Wire and a communications specialist at the Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

One thought on “Electric system circuit”

  1. Excellent explanation. Looking at 8.23.16 power outage map of nearly all Eastern NE, I think it might fall under your “more severe” category of circuits breaking down. We are without power in all of Deerwood right now..

    One suggestion: add easy link to find “hours before refrigerator and freezer contents spoil.” And teach customers how to set several frozen containers of ice in the bottom of refrig and freezer like old fashioned Icebox! What really lasts for three days is placing a wrapped flat block of DRY ice on the lowest shelf with bags of crushed or cubed ice on top. No melted ice.


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