A fire at the Vining Substation Saturday morning on North Ingalls Street knocked out power across all of Powell. Volunteers were able to quickly extinguish the fire, but city crews worked through the …
A fire at the Vining Substation Saturday morning on North Ingalls Street knocked out power across all of Powell. Volunteers were able to quickly extinguish the fire, but city crews worked through the day and into the evening to completely restore power to all homes and businesses in town.
City Administrator Zack Thorington said the extent of the power outage was unprecedented.
“We can’t express how much we are thankful no one was hurt,” Thorington said.
City crews, with help from Garland Light and Power and Western Area Power Administration, were able to restore power to much of the city by 11 a.m., but the repairs were temporary fixes to get electricity to consumers.
Thorington sent out statements on the Powell Police Department social media page requesting residents minimize their power consumption, especially air conditioners, to keep from overloading the “crippled” substation.
As the day warmed up and demands on the system increased, the city lost power again around 4 p.m. Power was restored to parts of the city within a couple hours, but a solution that would energize the whole city without overloading the system took a few more hours.
The city considered deploying a mobile substation to help maintain power to Powell, but this ended up being unnecessary. Thorington said they were able to get another circuit breaker online, which managed to hold without further outages.
The Powell Police Department posted updates throughout the day to keep residents informed of the problem and efforts to repair it. While the disruption was an inconvenience for the residents and businesses of Powell, most comments on the updates were supportive of the Powell Electrical Department employees and fire department volunteers for all they did to put out the fire and restore power. Thorington expressed his thanks for their efforts and everyone’s patience during the crisis.
Thorington said no cause of the fire has been determined at this time, and investigation continues.
The repairs at this point are temporary, and Thorington said it would be weeks, if not months, before replacement equipment gets installed at the substation. When those repairs are made, the city will need to have planned outages to complete the work. The public will be notified ahead of time before the outages take place.