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Power Blinks

Have you ever come home to find your digital clocks flashing "12:00"? It's caused by a power blink - a brief interruption that's designed to prevent a longer power outage.

digital clockPower blinks have always been a part of electric service - they just weren't as noticeable until sensitive electronics began filling our homes.

Blinks occur when an obstruction, like a tree limb, comes into contact with a power line or transformer. To prevent damage to the utility system or your home, a circuit breaker interrupts the electricity for a fraction of a second.

If the limb remains on the line, the breaker opens and tries to close again. If the obstruction is still on the line after the third try, the breaker opens and does not close automatically.

At this point, a utility worker must be dispatched to remove the obstruction and manually reset the breaker.

Power blinks rarely cause damage to equipment. Older digital clocks and other devices are the most vulnerable to blinks; newer models are designed to ride out these small voltage fluctuations.