Florida Folks on restoring power. Please pass this around and it will give some idea of what it takes to restore power to all the homes after a hurricane. Then people awaiting power will realize what it takes to get the job done.
1st You have to check the line from the generating plant which in most cases is a 230,000 volt or 500,000 volt line. This is generally done by helicopter to fly the line and see where it is damaged. Once they know where and how bad they can send crews to fix it. The generating plant feeds the switch yards and transformer that send power to the substations.
2nd the switch yard in most cases steps the power down to 69,000 volts and then sends it to all the substations. So all the lines to the subs station have to be checked and marked for repairs. The sub stations have transformers that step the power down to what we call 15KV or 15,000 volts. From the substations it goes out and is what we call distributions lines.
3rd the distribution lines have to be checked and every tap line that goes off it to feed a neighbor hood has to be checked. NOW the fun begins every single house has to be walked out to make sure the meter and drop to the house is ok to energize. If they energize a line that has not been repaired there is a risk of starting a fire and burning down a line or a house.
Any line you can not get a truck to you have to climb the pole the old fashion way and work it off your hooks.
Now for Hurricane Ike Houston has 36,000 miles of distribution line in the metro area. After the hurricane over half of it was down. So over 18,000 miles of power line had to be repaired they did 90% of it in two weeks. Just think that is building a power line from Los Angeles to New York 6 times and they did most of it in two weeks.
Logistics. I will just round off and make even numbers for people to understand. Ok 4,000 lineman means there is 1000 crews. Cause a line crew has a minimum of 4 men per crew some are heavy crews with more men. Lets say a line crew does 3 poles a day that means they have to have 3,000 poles 3,000 cross arms 12,000 pins and insulators plus bolts and braces and hardware. The average span of wire is about 250 ft so 4 wires per span means a 1000 ft of wire for each pole. In order to save times they often put a band aide on a pole to hold it till proper repairs can be made.
Do you have any idea what it takes to gets this much material to crews and how many trucks it takes to haul this much. NO utility company any where has this much material in stock so it has to come by truck from around the country from other utilities. The average crew will go through about 100 gallons of diesel a day. That is 40,000 gallons of fuel.
I hope gives just a little insight to what has to be done and hope people will understand it is not as simple as flipping a switch to get power on.