2016 Reliability Briefing
BVES is committed to providing our customers with safe and reliable electric service. While BVES maintains a 99% reliability rate, there are numerous factors that can cause power outages. With nearly all power outages, service is restored in a matter of hours. In extremely rare cases, power outages may require significant time to resolve.
As your electric utility, BVES is responsible for any potential losses during a power outage that results from our negligence. However, BVES is NOT responsible for damages that occur due to factors outside of our control including earthquakes, blizzards, wind, rain, etc.
Submitting a Claim
Customers can request a claim form from BVES at the main office located at 42020 Garstin Drive in Big Bear Lake, or by calling (800) 808-BVES. You can also click here for a printable version of the form.
Once a claim is submitted, our staff will conduct a thorough review to determine if the losses occurred due to our negligence or if they were the result of factors outside of our control. BVES will forward all of the relevant information to our insurance company for additional review and, if necessary, to analyze the extent of the damages and determine the appropriate compensation under the law.
During its investigation, BVES or its representatives may interview witnesses and review technical records and data. Providing as much relevant information as possible in your claim will help expedite the process.
Decisions on most claims are generally reached within 30 days, unless there are additional issues the require further review. The insurance company will contact customers directly once a decision has been reached.
When submitting a claim, customers are encouraged to retain all copies of receipts to ensure that any damages are accounted for properly. Customers should also ensure that any outside costs incurred because of the power outage do not exceed what is reasonable based on the damages involved.
BVES recommends customers take the following steps to prepare and protect themselves and their property during a power outage:
- Use Surge Protectors: Modern electronics can be damaged from electrical surges that may result when power is restored. Plugging your valuable electronics including computers, television and cell phones into surge protectors will improve the chances your electronics remain undamaged (or stay intact). Be sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations when selecting surge protectors for your electronics.
- Make an Emergency Kit: Emergency kits are good to have on hand for a wide variety of situations. Kits should include items like flashlights, battery-operated radio, non-perishable food, water, first aid kit and other necessary essentials. Additional information on emergency planning is available on BVES' website at Get Ready for Emergencies.
- Keep Refrigerator Closed: The best way to ensure your food remains preserved during a power outage is to keep your refrigerator door closed. Food in the refrigerator should keep for about six hours. Food in the freezer can last as long as two days. If you have concerns about the freshness of your food, the safest thing to do is throw it out.
- Protect Yourself from the Cold: Winter season in Big Bear can be especially cold, so make sure you have plenty of blankets and warm clothing including hats, gloves and winter jackets to keep you and your family comfortable during a potential prolonged outage.
With our Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, our crews are able to repair downed lines and restore power to customers within the shortest time possible. While restoring everyone's power is important, getting critical facilities back on line at places like hospitals and shelters is a priority.
Here's a look at how power is restored:
- Our crews are dispatched to restore power where it is critical to protect life and keep the community safe: hospitals, nursing homes, media outlets, police and fire stations.
- Electricity gets to homes from a series of substations that serve as relay points as power travels to communities throughout the region. One of our very first priorities is repairing damage to those substations so electricity will flow to the distribution and branch lines beyond.
- Distribution and branch lines carry electricity to your neighborhood on its way to your home. We restore distribution lines called "primary feeders" first, because they serve many neighborhoods. Then we repair and restore power to branch lines that extend from those primary feeders.
- Sometimes restoring service to substations and transmission lines -- including primary feeders and branch lines -- is just the beginning.
- Breaks also may occur in your neighborhood where many single lines supply individual homes. Our crews assess damage to entire neighborhoods by driving down individual streets to identify these single line problems. Then they return to the exact location of damage after distribution and branch lines are back in service.