“Cold Load Pickup” Can Prolong Your Outage

When your power is out, you can’t wait for it to be restored. Line Crews do their best to restore power quickly, often in severe weather. What you may not realize is that consumers may be unwittingly prolonging the outage by having too many items drawing power immediately, once it is restored.

This is what is known as “Cold Load Pickup”. In this case, “cold” refers to the state of the power load, not the temperature of your location. When large restoration procedures take place, one of the issues the distribution system faces during the re-energizing process is known as ‘cold load’. Cold load is the amount of electricity customers’ homes demand as repair crews try to re-energize areas that have been off for extended periods of time. We’ve seen it happen recently when storms hit the Big Bend and Desert Haven areas. Line crews would close the circuit, and it would immediately trip again.

In hot weather, the main cause of this problem is the large number of air conditioners coming on at the same time, which places an unusually heavy load on the system. Consumers can help by turning off the breaker switch to their HVAC system when their power is out. Consider unplugging other large appliances, and gradually adding them back one at a time once power issues are resolved.

When the electricity is restored, you should leave the HVAC off for about 30 minutes so our system can ‘settle out’ after restoration, then turn it on and slowly bring the temperature of the building to a comfortable level. The outage you prevent may be your own!