(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Those flickering lights for select residents in Edinboro may be annoying, but they’re not likely to damage appliances, a Penelec spokesman said.

The problem had been impacting about 1,100 customers. Some residents complained on social media of “power surges,” but Penelec spokesman Todd Meyers said it was actually a momentary flicker of power.

“It’s not the kind of thing that damages appliances — it’s more of an annoying thing,” Meyers said. “We don’t like to inconvenience anyone, and nothing can be more annoying that seeing things blink, especially when it happens repeatedly. It can be a bit maddening.”

Here’s what’s happening: Crews are working on a substation a little bit south of Edinboro on Route 99. While working, they’ve need to de-energize the equipment. The customers that would typically be served by that substation are now being served from another circuit, “so our system is a little bit out of normal configuration,” Meyers said.

With that came the power flickers for the past few evenings. Each evening, Penelec received about 20 phone calls about the flickers. Penelec staff believe the problem was being caused by an “oversensitive” recloser, Meyers said. When the recloser is working properly, it is supposed to protect the lines against tree branches. If a branch touches the powerline, the recloser opens, and when it sense the problem is resolved, it closes again. That makes the power go off and then back on again.

Meyers said crews went out to investigate the issue. Fault indicators were placed on the lines to identify the cause, but they were unable to find any of the usual suspects (tree limbs brushing against the line). An engineer has determined it was likely a recloser. Penelec now has bypassed the recloser and the company believes the problem is resolved.

Residents also had complained that the flickering power happened at about the same time every evening. Meyers said they suspect it was some sort of local, large piece of equipment that turned on at that same time each day — “like maybe a pump at a sewage station,” Meyers said.

With the recloser bypassed, Penelec said they had no reports of power issues in the area overnight on Oct. 6 to Oct. 7.

It was not a power surge, Meyers noted. In the case of a power surge, a higher voltage wire attached to the top of a utility pole somehow falls into a lower voltage wire attached below it. When the wires touch, it sends a surge of power through the lines. That’s no good for customers and their appliances. But that’s not what was happening, according to Penelec.

“This type of instance shouldn’t have that problem. It’s annoying, and we don’t like that our customers are having to deal with it, but it shouldn’t be damaging to anything,” Meyers said.