Wednesday, August 13, 2014

No cause found for power outage

Idaho Power Co. says system operated as it should

Express Staff Writer

    After patrolling miles of lines, Idaho Power Co. crews found no cause for the power outage on Tuesday night that left 9,021 customers in the dark in the Ketchum and Sun Valley area for two hours and 23 minutes.
    The lights went out at 5:35 p.m. just as a severe storm thundered into the area and unleashed heavy rain and multiple lightning strikes. Power was restored at 7:58 p.m.
    Idaho Power spokesman Kevin Winslow said that not finding a visible cause of the outage is not that unusual, especially during a storm event. Power lines buffeted by winds, struck by wind-borne debris or falling trees, or struck by other lines are designed to shut themselves down to ensure the safety of the whole power system.
    When an event occurs, the lines operate much like circuit breakers in home electrical systems. A power interruption or surge causes the line to shut down. It then tries to re-set itself several times before powering down totally to protect the system.
Idaho Power crews found no visible cause for the power outage after searching 16 to 20 miles of line between the affected communities and the Wood River Substation north of Hailey. They found no blown fuses, transformers, tangled debris or fallen trees.
After crews determined that there was no line damage, Idaho Power re-energized the line.
Winslow said the system performed as designed. He said his company is never happy when the power goes out, but is always relieved when it can get it back on.

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