Downtown power outage

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Multiple equipment problems cause electrical disturbance

A couple pieces of electrical equipment malfunctioned late Monday afternoon, causing a roughly hour-and-a-half-long power outage in and around downtown Powell.

Powell Electrical Superintendent Larry Carter said the trouble began when a fuse cutout located in the alley behind Subway broke in half. When crews went to fix that problem, a short tripped the circuit breaker that serves the downtown area. When the workers went to the substation to try resetting the breaker, the crew found the circuit would not close. They ultimately opened a panel and found “smoke and stuff billowing out of it,” Carter said.

“It kind of left us all in the lurch there,” he said of the ordeal.

The fuse cutout failed around 4:15 p.m., but the electrical department ends its regular shifts at 4.

“We had to get everybody back in and regroup, so to speak,” Carter said.

Around 5:45 p.m., the city crews successfully transferred the downtown area’s electrical demand onto the circuit that normally just serves the south side of town. That required briefly cutting power to the south side.

On Wednesday, Powell’s electrical system was still operating with only three of its usual four circuits, going without the one for the downtown area. Carter said the south side circuit can handle 300 amps of electricity and — even with the addition of downtown — it was handling no more than 195 amps.

“We’ve still got a little bit of room,” Carter said. “But still, you don’t want to be hanging out there. You want everything to be back to normal.”

An employee of the contractor that works on the city’s substation was expected to arrive either Wednesday night or today (Thursday) to fix the problem with the faulty breaker.

That circuit covers not only downtown but also the surrounding areas — continuing north to Fifth Street and south to Washington Park.

“It’s a pretty large area,” Carter said. “So it affected quite a few people.”

Without power during dinnertime, some restaurants opted to close up shop.

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