Storm Center

Storm Center

Outage Causes

Electrical outages can be caused by a variety of factors. Though individual situations may differ, this section offers general information about the most common causes of power outages in the Midwest.
Weather
  • Lightning – Lightning generally searches for the tallest objects to serve as a conductor. These include utility poles, wires, transformers, trees and other electrical equipment. When lightning strikes electrical equipment, it can cause a loss of power.
  • Wind – Severe wind can cause power lines to come in contact with tree limbs, which can cause dimming lights or an interruption of service. Wind can break or damage tree branches, poles and power lines.
  • Ice/Snow – Buildup of snow and ice can cause power lines to break and tree limbs to fall into power lines or break poles.
  • Rain/Flooding – Heavy rain and melting snow can cause flooding in some areas. Floods can cause damage to aboveground and underground electrical equipment. In some cases, MidAmerican Energy is ordered by cities to disconnect service to certain areas to prevent any hazards.
Other Causes
  • Vehicle Accidents – Vehicles coming into contact with utility poles or other electrical equipment are common causes of power outages. They may cause power lines or utility poles to break.
  • Animal Contact – Short circuits, which interrupt the flow of power, can be caused from small animals — such as squirrels and birds — climbing on poles, transformers and fuses.
  • Trees – Tree branches in power lines or trees falling on power lines can cause power outages.
  • Contractors – Excavation digging by contractors can damage underground electrical equipment.
  • Power Demand – High power demand can overload our equipment and cause power outages during the summer season.
  • Planned Outages – To maintain our equipment and keep up with the growing communities, we may schedule planned outages in some areas.