Critters, Vegetation and Power “Blinks”

on a calm, storm-free day, you probably wonder why.

In spring and early summer, critters, especially squirrels and snakes, are busy nesting and feeding and they often find their way to power poles and other equipment that is a part of Jones-Onslow’s electrical distribution system. Additionally, despite an aggressive tree trimming program, new tree growth and vines can find their way onto power lines and other equipment.

Blinks occur when an obstruction comes into contact with a power line or transformer. To minimize the possibility of damage to the electrical distribution system or your home, a circuit breaker interrupts the flow of electricity for a fraction of a second. If the obstruction remains on the line, the breaker opens and then tries to re-close and restore power. If the obstruction is still on the line after the third try, the breaker opens and does not re-close automatically. At this point, a Jones- Onslow employee must be dispatched to remove the obstruction and manually reset the breaker.

“Power blinks have always been a part of electric service — they just weren’t as noticeable until sensitive electronics began filling our homes,” says Chief Utility Engineer Tommy Pritchard. “While they might be annoying, without this feature designed into the system, every brief interruption would result in an outage lasting possibly an hour or longer.”

Pritchard suggest installing a battery backup (Uniterruptible Power Supply or UPS) for cable boxes, computers and any other electronics that take a long time to reboot after a sudden shutdown.

Many of the cooperative’s poles have “squirrel guard” technology but these cunning creatures often find ways to get around the guards. The guards are designed not only to prevent outages but to spare a squirrel’s life too. Squirrels are not electrocuted when they run across power lines but when their bodies make contact with more than one wire or a transformer they become a path for electricity. The same holds true for snakes, which sometimes find their way into equipment.

Ultimately, power blinks improve the overall system reliability by reducing measurable power outages, protecting Jones-Onslow’s equipment and actually reducing the total time customers would be without power if the technology were not in place.

Local Students Rewarded for Outstanding Achievement

Twenty-four graduating high school seniors and four community college students have received scholarships that Jones-Onslow funds for deserving students in our community.

The $1,000 scholarships will assist the youth as they continue with their academic endeavors. Students that attended high school in Onslow County were selected in conjunction with the school system and its Sponsors For Academic Talent (S.A.T.) Program and received their scholarships at the May S.A.T. Banquet. Other recipients were chosen by the individual school’s staff.

The cooperative is proud of these and all the fine students in our area schools and communities. Scholarship recipients are listed to below. Congratulations to you all!

High School Recipients

Camp Lejeune
Megan Jensen
Alexander Ynfante
Holly Thomas
Kendell Wilcox
East Duplin
Wesley Brown
Carson Williams
Evans Morgan
Katherine Reeves
Jones Senior
Kiarra Hill
Frederica Smith
Sean Brooks
Tailor Rowe
Lindsey Gaddy
Matthew Horne
South Lenoir
Allyson Heath
Robert Simmons
Corinna Fonseca
Malique Judd
Jacob Barton
Rachel Woodul
Natalie Smith
Whitney Williams
White Oak
Emily Cluen
Jack Koonce

Community College Recipients

Coastal Carolina
Emily Dale
Amanda Rocker
Brittany Baugus
Becky Jones

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