Had major power outage. Used generator to run basic stuff in house, no large appliances (220v or even a strong draw like furnace or microwave).

100amp service from the power company. Lights and overall electricity have been a mess since the power came back on from the power company. Flickers, dims, stereo hums (750w not constant) resets or turnoffs. All lights in house are CFL or LED. On both sides of breaker connections no issues in the house like blown anything.

The power company checked and checked outside. Even said that with no load the top power was @ 27amps, each pole without a load, on top, middle, and bottom. I believe it is the power company, as none of this stuff was happening before the storm. Now the problem does not happen consistently to nail it down to something in my house. Lastly, I am not having breakers pop and all I keep reading about is brownout Any ideas of where to look in my home or is it the power company lying to us ...again

  • 1
    You need an electrician with the right test equipment.
    – Simon B
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 13:43
  • 1
    Is any non electronic devices acting up? Possible you had a power surge when the power came back. Also possible there is a loose/bad connection that the power company missed.
    – crip659
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 13:44
  • I lost a fan(patton) and some lightbulbs (florescent and LED). one TV which is off all the time acted up until I unplugged it for a few hrs and then it would at least turn on. all on surge protecters. Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 15:30
  • Do you own a Kill-A-Watt (it's a plug-in energy meter) or other easy way to measure voltage? Your power has two phases/poles, so any 120V circuit is on one pole or the other. We need to know the voltage on both poles (i.e. a bunch of circuits and they will tend to group into 2 voltages). Having done that, turn on a hair dryer and see if the voltage changes. Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 22:11
  • Even if its the power company, it cant be just your installation (barring loose connection). What do your neighbors have to say ? I do know that the LED lights dont like voltages higher than 220V. When the grid goes off and solar and generator kick in at my house, the voltage is 230V. And all dimmable LEDs start flashing. I have to turn them off. They should have a switching power supply and should be immune to frequency and voltage fluctuation. But everything is made cheaply now. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 1:51

3 Answers 3


I'd start by reporting this to the power company -- or check with your neighbors, and report it if they have any of the same problems. This does sound like their repair wasn't quite complete. Or perhaps you or one of the other folks on the line was doing something dangerous with a generator...

If you don't want to wait for them, you'd need to attach some test equipment to the line to see what the actual power coming into your house looks like. If that's clean, something in your house is causing the problem and you'd have to work through the circuits to find it.

You could try turning on one of the devices which is misbehaving, and turning off all the other breakers. If the device now behaves correctly, turn on the other breakers one by one until you find one that provides the problem. That could also answer whether the problem is on the power line or in your house, and give you an initial idea of what might be causing it.

  • From OP: I have had generator running for over an hour and had no problems flickers or any such thing. within 30 minutes of switching back to main power flickering started then stopped. I also have killed all but major stuff , same problem, killed major stuff and just rest of house, flicker. what is running seems to not matter in some cases and times. Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 15:26
  • In that case: phone it in.
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 15:31
  • called power coming by Monday to put in a tester monitor. been quite for last 1/2 hr now lights and computer speaker are pulsing Thanks for advice/ confirmations Commented Dec 31, 2022 at 16:00

It sounds like you have a loose connection, very possibly a LOST NEUTRAL. A lost neutral is a serious problem. If the rest of the system, including grounding, is functioning properly, it may not be immediately obvious but will show under load. The key is to check your voltage.

Normal voltage is:

  • 240V between hots
  • 120V neutral to each hot
  • 120V ground to each hot
  • 0V neutral to ground

The overall numbers can legitimately vary a little. That's the whole 110V -> 115V -> 120V change. So if your numbers are 117V and 234V or whatever, that's fine. The main things are approximately 240V between hots (in some places, particularly multi-unit buildings it can be ~ 208V), the neutral to hot values nearly identical between the two hots - e.g., 117V and 119V is OK, 110V and 125V is not, and basically nothing neutral to ground.

  • Turn off all breakers
  • Turn on a 240V/120V combination circuit - e.g., typical clothes dryer - if you have one. If you don't, it gets more complicated because you want to be able to test 240V and both 120V legs - which could involved multiple circuits to get you everything.
  • Test 240V (hot to hot) and each 120V neutral to hot. Make note of the values.
  • Turn on some 120V loads, ideally all on one hot leg. Ideal would be a high current resistive load - hair dryer, toaster oven (regular oven is 240V so that won't help) or 120V space heater (which have a lot of issues, I don't recommend them in general, but if you have one then this testing is a great use for one).

If the neutral-to-hot values at a 240V/120V receptacle change significantly when you turn on or off an appliance then, based on the description, you have a utility problem.

Due to the way power is supplied and monitored, the utility may know automatically if all power (both hots) is out, may even know automatically if one of the hots is out, but very likely will not know if the neutral is out. But they will treat it as seriously as a regular outage, if they know it exists. Don't treat it like "poor power quality" (which can be a real issue). Treat it like an outage.

  • I will check that again, I have been using generator when it gets real bad. funny does not happen in slightest when generator is on. only thing I do not run is my furnace which is only a 120v 30a breaker and always has been. Dryer 5400W alone , stays off so I do not overload generator. we have been logging times of problem and we are seeing a pattern related to when neighbors are up and around including a mega farm 1/2 mile from us. I do not know how bad it is but my closest had same flashing light problem when I began to think it was not our house. each is on its own transformer. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 10:11
  • One thing that is NOT coming up and is making me shake my head. What about my generator? My house has none of these issues when running generator. I do not run furnace nor dryer but every thing else i would normally use is getting used or activated. Lights, computer ( I am a gamer) stereo, 50in TV and a 37 in, radios. Lastly I don't always have problems. then BOOM something goes flash, dim or off and on and so on. It doesn't matter if it is only lights and a radio or all but mentioned above. it is random and sporadic and only when power company power is on. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 22:04
  • Very simple: only on utility means it is a utility problem. Intermittent means loose connection. At pole, at weather head or at the meter itself. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 22:18
  • 1
    power company came by hooked recording device to meter. had no issues for 4hrs. ran all normal stuff after 4 pm all went crazy lights dimming. stereo shut off. but not internet or tv (same belkin power surge strip). been having same stuff happen now for days after new device hooked up. had track motor burn out this morning and that same belkin power strip melted. did not pop breaker or on the strip. switched to generator and stayed for 1.5hrs then getting cold. switched to main power and ran furnace. by the time furnace was done we said oh its working. lasted 1/2hr and turned gen on Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 14:55
  • 1
    forgot to turn off furnace and it cycled on. generator took it. no problem. did strain but did run nom flutters burps no problems .n blower ran to cool furnace , same no problems Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 15:07

they came by and replaced the transformer. still say it is us. Rebuilt whole breaker box. 100amp service w/ new box breakers and all. after I got it all done. BTW in less than 7hrs which included removal of old panel, labeling. wire new box. tested with generator then when nothing sploded I connected to main power. so far no issues. we will see. Thanks to all who gave advice and insight.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.