Slack lines cause power outagesby Jonathan DuHamel on Oct. 29, 2009, under Energy, technology
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, my westside neighborhood experienced approximately 30 short power outages during the very windy day and evening. Each would last from 30 seconds to five minutes. That made work on a desktop computer very difficult. By the way, my neighborhood has all underground utilities.
I inquired of TEP to see what was happening and what they were doing about it.
This morning I received a call from TEP spokesman Joseph Barrios. He said that overhead lines leading into the neighborhood carry both high-voltage transmission lines and lower-voltage distribution lines. Slack in the lines caused them to touch and short out, tripping circuit breakers. The breakers would automatically reset.
Barrios said that if this happens more than four times, the TEP crews search out the cause. Apparently over time, the lines stretch, resulting in too much slack. Barrios said that crews have now tightened the lines and installed “separators” which hopefully will prevent future problems, at least for a while.
Although the power outages were inconvenient, I appreciate that TEP crews got to work to identify the problem and that Mr. Barrios telephoned me with an explanation.