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Microwave with blinking clock

“Blinks” can signal a properly working electrical system

We often hear the question from members “What causes my lights to blink?” The power grid is subject to certain short-term losses of power, and Craighead Electric Cooperative takes all possible measures to prevent these occurrences and minimize their impact on our members. Blinking lights are the result of momentary outages that occur when some type of disturbance exists on the line. This could be a lightning strike, an automobile striking a pole, or a critter or tree branch coming into contact with an energized power line. 

When lights blink, it is an indication that the cooperative’s equipment is operating properly. If a fault or short circuit happens on a power line, a device called and “oil circuit recloser” (OCR) opens to stop it, then quickly closes back. Although the process is quick, it may cause your lights to blink making it necessary to reset digital clocks and appliances with digital displays. An OCR is essentially a breaker, functioning much like a breaker in the electrical panel in your home, except that it can reset itself automatically.

OCR on the ground

OCR sitting on the ground

Have you ever noticed that blinks often come in sets of three before an outage? If the short circuit continues, the OCR will operate or “trip” two more times giving the fault a chance to clear itself. If it does, it saves the Cooperative from taking an outage and having to roll a truck. If it does not, it stops the flow of electricity, protecting the lines from damage until the problem can be fixed.
Although the weather and nature’s creatures are beyond our control, cooperative members can lessen the effect and inconvenience of “blinks” when they occur. 

When purchasing small appliances and digital clocks, consider models with battery backup or smart devices that can reset themselves. 

Lease a meter-base surge protector from Craighead Electric to help protect major appliances in your home.
Invest in surge-protector-power-strips with built-in uninterruptable power supply (UPS) for your computer or other electronic devices whose “memory” would be lost with a power interruption.