Power Surge Causes Outage in Santa Barbara

March 24, 2017

By Michael Guta - Contributing Writer

Power outages take place under the strangest circumstances, but one thing we do know is that they can happen any time without any warning. Earlier this week, a fallen palm branch broke a power line which resulted in a power surge that caused a second power line to break. These two events were responsible for causing a power outage for almost two hours to 1,263 SoCal Edison homes and businesses in the Santa Barbara area.

The outage affected many businesses, residents and Santa Barbara City College. The school canceled classes and events for the day because of the outage. Although the incident didn't last that long, the impact to thousands of people and businesses was significant. This highlights the need to have a business continuity plan in which power protection is part of the prevention and recovery process.

So what is a power surge? Also known as a voltage surge, it can be caused by internal or external factors. When it is internal, it is caused by something that has gone wrong with a device from an increase or decrease of electrical load, magnetic coupling and electric discharge. When the cause is external, it can come from a lightning or malfunction in the electrical grid just like the Santa Barbara incident.

If the surge causes an outage that breaks the transmission of power to your home or business, the electronic components you have plugged in might be safe. However, if the surge goes all the way through, the damage can be more extensive. And this is where a surge protector comes in to save the day.

If you have the right power surge protector plugged into your wall outlet, it will immediately stop a surge of electricity from going to your smart TV, computers, smartphone or any other device that happens to be plugged in at the time of the surge. A typical surge protector will cut the power off when the voltage reaches 300V or 400V.

Quality is critically important when you choose your power surge protector. The Advanced X3 MOV (metal oxide varistor) hardware for enhanced fire protection in the Minuteman surge protectors have more surge capacity (Joules) than regular MOVs, delivering better and faster heat dissipation during a surge.

Whether you are in your home with expensive consumer electronics, appliances and office equipment, or at your place of business, power surge protectors are a cost effective way to ensure they will be safe. 

Edited by Alicia Young