Why power outages occur

WPS makes every effort to provide customers with uninterrupted electrical service, but sometimes conditions beyond our control can cause power outages. Learn more about the most common causes of power outages in our area.

Weather-related causes of power outages

  • Lightning - Lightning is a common cause of outages. Lightning strikes can hit our electrical equipment, causing you to lose power. Lightning can also strike trees, which may fall onto power lines and cause outages.
  • Ice - Ice storms create a buildup of ice on power lines and trees. The weight of the ice can cause tree limbs and entire trees to fall onto power lines, causing an outage.
  • Wind - High winds may cause objects, such as fallen trees, to come in contact with power lines. If that happens, circuit breakers or other protective equipment will shut off the flow of power. Wind may also blow tree limbs or entire trees onto the power lines, causing the lines to fall to the ground, or breaking the lines and poles.
  • Rain and flooding - Heavy rains can cause flooding in certain areas. Floods can cause damage to both above-ground and underground electrical equipment. To prevent major damage, WPS may need to shut the equipment down, affecting service to some customers.

Other causes of power outages

  • Car accidents - Car accidents can cause power outages, as they sometimes result in damaged poles and power lines.
  • Animals - Animals can also cause power outages when they climb on equipment, such as transformers and fuses, causing the equipment to shut down. By shutting down, the equipment protects the rest of the system.
  • Planned outages - It is sometimes necessary to interrupt power to homes and businesses, to perform maintenance on our system. WPS makes every effort to alert affected customers and communities in advance of these planned outages.