Why do lights flicker bofore a power outige


Why do lights flicker bofore a power outige

In: Technology

Typically because power outages are caused by some kind or short circuit that causes a surge in power draw before the system automatically shuts down.

Say a tree branch falling knocks down a power line in your neighborhood, that power like is suddenly grounded, and massive amounts of electricity are going to surge into the ground through it pulling a surge before the system gets shut off either by an automatic system, or by actual physical breakers burning out

There are “fuses” in the line called oil circuit reclosers or OCRs. The purpose of these OCRs are like fuses, if they detect too much current, they open the circuit (killing power to the line). The difference between OCRs and fuses is that the OCRs can also automatically close the circuit, restoring power to the line whereas once a fuses opens, it stays open until someone from the power company manually shuts it again. OCRs exist because occasionally tree branches and wildlife can create a temporary short in the system and power needs to be cut before too much current melts the power lines. Once an OCR detects this high current, it opens the circuit, waits a fixed amount of time and then closes the circuit again. If the OCR doesn’t detect a high current after it closes, it stays closed and power remains on the line. If it still detects a high current once the circuit is closed, it opens again. It opens the circuit three times. After the third time, the OCR stays open until the source of the short can be investigated. As an end user, you see the power go off, come back on, go off, come back on, and then go off and stay off.

The question is “Why do lights flicker before a power outage”

Think of a water-tap sputtering before the overhead tank runs dry and shuts off supply.

Similarly, flickering lights are a sign of fluctuation in current and that something abnormal is hitting the supply or distribution of the power. Hence lights may flicker before a power outage. Sometimes lights may just go off without flickering too.