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Flickering Lights

What is a Power Flicker?

We’ve all experienced it, either while we’re at home when the lights flutter on and off, or when we return home and the clocks on all the appliances are flashing. It’s annoying and you’ve probably wondered why it happens.

Power flickers are typically harmless (outages lasting less than 60 seconds) and will usually correct themselves very quickly. At LCUB we work very hard to reduce power outages of all kinds and provide our customers with reliable service, and this includes power flickers.


Power flickers can occur at any given time, during any given weather circumstance.  Several factors that may cause flickering include:

  • Tree limbs or debris falling on or coming into contact with power lines
  • Lightning strikes
  • Car accidents striking electrical poles
  • Construction accidents
  • Damaged power lines
  • Animals coming in contact with power lines or electrical equipment

Here’s an example of how a power flicker can occur. A tree limb falls on or comes into contact with a power line. Typically, the tree limb will fall to the ground on its own or the contact is broken. For the power line that was impacted, the electric system quickly shuts itself off in order for the problem to resolve itself. Often, the issue is automatically corrected, power is restored, and this can all happen in just a matter of seconds. This process most often prevents much longer outage times.

Other customers who are served by adjacent power lines may also experience a power flicker due to a voltage sag, or brief drop in electricity.

What LCUB is Doing About Flickering

If you do experience power flickers we would like to apologize. We understand that any power disturbance is annoying. Please know that we’re working to reduce the problem and provide you with the most reliable electric service possible. When it comes to deploying state-of-the-art technology, LCUB’s newly installed SCADA system and Outage Management System help engineers identify problems and address them appropriately. We are also installing the latest technology in substation relaying/automation and field reclosers. The installation of these technologies, along with newly installed fiber, allows LCUB to start moving toward the operation of a self-healing grid. A self-healing grid will automatically restore sections of the power grid unaffected by damage, thus reducing the number of customers without power for any given outage.

To further ensure quality of service for our customers and help prevent flickers and outages, LCUB regularly trims trees along approximately 400 miles of power lines per year.

What You Can Do to Help

At LCUB we will continue to focus our efforts on minimizing ALL power outages, including flickering. But there are steps you can take to protect your home and your belongings. Utilizing Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) and surge protectors for your appliances, computers and other sensitive equipment will help prevent possible damage.  CLICK HERE for “LCUB’s Complete Guide to Power Outages” which provides detailed information on how to safeguard your home against a power disruption.

*It’s worth noting that power flickers can potentially occur even if you receive your electric service via underground power lines. These lines eventually must connect to overhead power lines and equipment. Underground lines are also potentially subject to interference by animals and reptiles.

CLICK HERE to download our brochure about “Power Flickers”.