Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Report an Outage?
Call 1-800-NEC-WATT (1-800-632-9288) to Report your Power Outage to NEC
All Nueces Electric Cooperative telephone lines are manned 24 hours a day to receive emergency power outage reports. Calls are either answered in our office, or on weekends and after-hours, by our off-site call center. NEC has 19,000 consumers, and in a major outage, unfortunately, we cannot prevent the frustration you will undoubtedly feel as you repeatedly get a busy signal when you attempt to reach us by telephone. In a crisis situation, know that NEC begins its service restoration process as soon as the initial crisis or storm passes. We likely know about your outage, but we encourage you to report it anyway to ensure that your outage is not an isolated situation. Please be patient when reporting your outage.
How Can I Get Power Restoration Updates?
Since our phones are often busy during a major outage, you can contact NEC via e-mail or you can see updates on the home-page of this website. Additionally we try to provide information to as many media and social outlets as possible so you can receive updates about service restoration progress without having to contact our office. If you have access to a smart device or computer, you can monitor outages using the NEC Outage Viewer to see real-time restoration progress. Below are outlets where restoration progress updates can be found:
- NEC launched its Outage Texting system in June 2019 which sends texts alerts members during the event of a power outage. For more information, visit https://nueceselectric.org/content/outage-texting.
- News releases with restoration progress updates will be sent daily (or more frequently) during a major outage to the newspapers for their websites and print, television networks (Corpus Christi ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates), and area radio stations (including K99 and KLUX) These updates will continue until all power is restored.
- The HOME PAGE the Nueces Electric Cooperative website: www.nueceselectric.org will provide regular updates and communication from the co-op on the restoration system progress. NEC encourages you to review the Power Restoration Process Image so you are aware of the restoration process and priorities. If you do not have access to a computer during the outage, you are encouraged to contact a friend or relative outside the area and ask them to check the website for you and provide you with the updated information.
- NEC will utilize Facebook and Twitter to provide updates and information.
- Restoration efforts can monitored by using the NEC Outage Viewer located on the homepage of www.nueceselectric.org. The Outage Viewer can be accessed using any smart device (cell phones, iPads, etc...) as well as home or business computers. Our website is hosted externally so even if NEC servers go down, we will still be able to access and update our websites.
- In the event of a major restoration (5,000 meters or more) NEC will attempt to send out mass e-mails and texts every three hours to update members. For small restoration storms,1-2 e-mails and text messages will be sent per day with updates. If you need to add an e-mail to your account, or update your e-mail, you must contact NEC at 800-632-9288 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- In the event that no broadcasting is available to communicate with consumers, NEC employees will post updates as frequently as possible at local post offices and/or other community buildings/centers.
How is Power Restored? Does Anyone Get Priority Treatment?
No employees, managers, or directors of NEC receive priority treatment for service restoration. However, Nueces Electric Cooperative does maintain a priority restoration list for member-consumers who rely on life support equipment. Registration for this list must be done BEFORE the storm or crisis, with proper physician authorization. Members should contact NEC for more information before the next crisis or storm. Registration must be renewed annually or members are removed from the list. NEC also maintains a priority list for any business and commercial consumers whose operations have an impact on public health and safety. These may include healthcare facilities, stores on which the public depends for supplies, utilities, etc. (Note: Even these priority registrants may need to wait a long time for damage repairs and power restoration. Back-up power systems and/or evacuation are strongly recommended.)
Service Restoration Process (also see Power Restoration Process Image )
As soon as possible, Nueces Electric Cooperative will restore electric service to the priority consumers and facilities, and then complete its general emergency restoration procedures as outlined below.
- NEC makes a determination of the severity of damage and calls for other electric cooperatives (from Texas or even other states) to send crews, trucks, supplies, and equipment to help. Contractors will likely also be used.
- Transmission towers and lines supply power to 17 transmission substations in the NEC area. These lines and substations are maintained by our Generation & Transmission Cooperative, South Texas Electric Cooperative, based in Nursery, near Victoria, TX. These lines seldom fail, but they can be damaged by a hurricane or tornado. Thousands of people could be served by one high-voltage transmission line. If one of these lines receives damage, it would get attention first.
- An NEC-area substation may serve a couple thousand consumer meters. When a major outage occurs, the substations are checked first. As noted above, these substations are maintained by our Generation & Transmission Cooperative, South Texas Electric Cooperative, based in Nursery, near Victoria, TX.
- Main and secondary distribution supply lines, or feeders, are checked next if the problem can’t be isolated at the substation. These supply lines carry electricity away from the substation to a group of consumers. When power is restored at this stage, all consumers served by this supply line could see the lights come on, as long as there is no problem farther down the line.
- The final supply lines, or tap lines, carry power to the utility poles or underground transformers outside homes or other buildings. Line crews fix the remaining outages based on restoring service to the greatest number of members.
- Sometimes damage will occur on the service line between your house or business and the transformer on the nearby pole. This can explain why you have no power when your neighbor does. NEC needs to be notified if damage is here so a service crew can repair it.
- Members themselves (not Nueces Electric Cooperative) are responsible for damage to the service installation on the building. NEC can’t fix problems here – you’ll need to call a licensed electrician.
I Saw an NEC Truck Drive Right By My House. Why Don’t I Have Power Yet?
As detailed above, NEC crews have a methodical plan for checking the system for damage and then restoring your power. NEC has crews working throughout the crisis to restore service to all NEC members. They must follow the process and procedures in order to conduct the full system restoration in the most efficient and effective manner. Again, safety is our top priority, and a tired and/or undernourished lineman can be at great risk when working with electricity. All NEC employees must take time for periodic meals and sleep in order to safely and efficiently get the job of your service restoration completed. Because power line work conducted in the dark is slow and dangerous, NEC's emergency restoration plan calls for all line crews to sleep during the dark, evening hours. Please remember, NEC employees are working hard for you at a time when, like you, they also may have outages and other personal issues of their own to deal with as a result of the crisis. Your support, patience, and understanding are greatly appreciated.
Please continue to monitor the NEC Outage Viewer to see the big-picture restoration progress. The outage Viewer is real-time, meaning what you see is what is happening.
What About Electric Safety During and After the Power Outage?
Safety is our top priority during emergency service restoration situations and it should be your top priority, as well. NEC will not send employees into a dangerous situation to restore power until we can minimize the danger; whether this means taking time for proper tree removal or waiting to allow flood waters to recede. For safety's sake, please keep in mind the following:
If used improperly a back-up generator can make life a lot more dangerous! Follow manufacturer instructions to protect you and your family when using a portable generator. Avoid it if at all possible, but if you must connect the generator to the house wiring, you must have had a qualified electrician hook up the standby electrical system. This is to protect linemen from being shocked by power from your generator while doing repairs to the line. (the power from your generator will back-feed through the power lines)
Also, never keep your generator inside your home. Always runt he generator is your opened garage or patio to prevent death or illness from carbon monoxide poisening.
WIRING AND APPLIANCES EXPOSED TO WATER
If you have appliances or equipment that have been exposed to water never assume they are safe to use after they have dried. Before you try to use any electrical appliance that has been exposed to water, take it to a qualified service technician. The item may be fine, it may need reconditioning, or it might require replacement.
DOWNED POWER LINES
Assume that any downed power line is “live.” Do not go near it or attempt to remove anything in contact with it. Report the problem immediately to the utility and local fire or police authorities. If you can, stay nearby to warn others away from the downed line. If you’re inside a car in contact with a downed line, stay inside! You can safely use a cellular phone, if you have one, to call for help. Never drive across a downed power line. If someone is shocked by contact with a downed line, don’t touch the person! Use a dry, un-painted plastic or wooden object, such as broom handle, to try to separate the victim from the power source. Call 911 for help immediately.