What Causes Outages
A strong storm can cause widespread damage and power outages. Our restoration team works hard to make your outage as brief as possible. Learn how we work hard to keep the power on and what you can do prior to a potential outage and while recovery is underway.
Providing our customers reliable service is a top priority, which is why we’ve invested time and resources into award-winning technology solutions that have led to fewer outages and shorter restoration times for our customers. It’s also why we have a 99.98% reliability rating.
During an outage, our system can sense the location of the outage, automatically reroute power and restore service to our customers. In situations where power cannot automatically be restored, this technology helps identify trouble spots on the grid, allowing to efficiently deploy our crews and drone technology to these areas so that they can assess the situation and restore service as quickly as possible.
Grid resiliency and security
Smart grid technology and enhanced security through wirelines radar technology provides increased efficiency as well as physical and cyber-security.
Maintaining the system
Our team regularly inspects our equipment, including the utility lines and poles that deliver power to your home, ensuring they can withstand severe weather to prevent outages.
How We Restore Power
No. When a major storm strikes, our computerized system keeps up with the lines and substations that go out of service. This is valuable knowledge because the company knows where to begin restoration once it is safe to do so. If power were turned off, we would have no idea where the major damage was, and restoration would be slowed. Also, turning off all the power ahead of a storm creates a huge safety problem after the storm passes. Once the system lets the operator know which lines are out, the operator will not turn that line back on until repairs are made.
No. While our line crews are happy to assist customers where possible, stopping them to ask questions or make special requests only slows restoration. If power has been restored to your entire neighborhood, but you are without power, check your meter box for damage, or call our Customer Service line at 1-800-888-2726.
Crews could be leaving for a variety of reasons: they need to pick up more supplies to continue restoration; conditions have become unsafe; or the problem needs additional work.
Following a severe storm with widespread power interruptions, customers can report their outages online, via the smartphone app or by calling Customer Service. The company knows where the power is out, because its automated system alerts a technician when a line goes off. If it is crucial for you to have power to treat a life-threatening condition, please also call our Customer Service line at 1-800-888-2726 to let them know about the situation. As the restoration progresses, we will announce through the media if residents in specific areas should call in if they’re still without power.
No. Each county has guidelines that the company must follow in connecting service. The first consideration – for both the county and Alabama Power – is protecting the homeowner’s safety. As a general rule, a licensed contractor must make repairs and an inspection permit must be issued by the county before we can restore electricity to a damaged structure.
Putting power lines underground is not Alabama Power’s decision. We put lines underground at the customer’s request. Because it is costlier — up to 10 times more expensive — to put lines underground, the customers who want it have to pay extra for the installation.
Going underground is reliable, but it won’t stop all outages. All underground lines must come out of the ground somewhere. If you have an outage on an underground system, it takes much longer to locate it (you can’t see it) and repair it (you have to dig up streets and yards).
Alabama Power customers are only charged for electricity they use. Therefore, if your power is out, you will not be charged for it.
It’s very important to understand an essential fact about your meter box – this important part of your electric system does NOT belong to Alabama Power.
The meter box belongs to the customer. If it’s damaged by weather or by any kind of accident, repair is the customer’s responsibility. Alabama Power cannot, by regulation, connect power to a damaged meter box.
You can feel tremendous frustration at this restriction. It’s understandable – after anxious hours waiting for power to be restored, who wouldn’t be frustrated by an even longer wait?
Still, if your meter box (or the pole on top of it) is damaged, a professional electrician must repair it to code before we’re allowed to restore your service.
Prepare for inclement weather and a potential storm outage with our list of supplies, designed to get you through three days without electricity or running water.Learn More