Causes of
power outages

Tornado road damage

Wind or tornadoes

High winds or fallen trees may cause power lines to touch and short out, causing an outage. Wind may also blow tree limbs or entire trees onto the power lines, causing the lines to fall to the ground and possibly even break the lines and poles.

Left: Weather damage, 2006.


Lightning strikes can hit elec-trical equipment, causing you to lose power. Lightning can also strike trees, which may fall onto power lines and cause outages.

Rain and flooding

Heavy rains can cause flooding in certain areas. Floods can cause damage to both above-ground and underground electrical equipment. In some cases, Vectren may have to shut down service to prevent major damage to the equipment.

Vehicle and construction accidents

Vehicle accidents are a common cause of power outages. They can result in broken poles, causing power lines to break or touch. Accidental contact with underground or overhead power lines at construction sites can also cause power outages.


Ice storms create a buildup of ice on power lines and on trees. The weight of the ice can cause tree limbs and entire trees to fall onto power lines; and the weight, if it accumulates on the power lines, can cause poles to break as well.

Ice storm Squirrel


Small animals that climb on equipment, such as transformers or fuses, can cause the equipment to shut down. By shutting down, the equipment protects the rest of the system to prevent widespread outages.

Fact finder

Why is my neighbor's power on – but not mine?

Sometimes, you may notice your neighbor's power has been turned on, but your power is still out. There may be several explanations:

  • First, not all circuits are restored at the same time, and different parts of your neighborhood may be served by different circuits.
  • Another might be that your neighbor’s service comes directly from a primary line, which is repaired and reenergized first while your house’s service may be served off a secondary line.
  • Finally, there may be a problem with your house’s individual service line, the weatherhead (which is simply a conduit that attaches to your home and allows the line to run down the side of your home and feed into the meter box ), or the meter itself.

If your neighbors have power and you have not yet reported that your power is off, your parents should call (800) 227-1376.

Safety tip

Have your parents check out the new Outage Center online at

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