June 7, 2001

Tree Limbs Blamed For Brief Power Outage In Memphis

Despite all of the nasty weather this spring the community nearly made it through May without any significant power outages. That changed Thursday, May 31 when power went out across much of the eastern half of Memphis at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Light crew superintendent Dave Kittle stated the city electric service experienced several blown fuses earlier in the evening. These fuses were replaced but blew again for a second time causing the power outage.

Crews immediately began searching for the problem area in the power lines. The "12-5" line which loops around the outer edge of town was experiencing the problems.

The line has three sections that can be run separately. The crews began on the first section in the north part of town. This section had no problems and was restarted roughly an hour after the outage began.

The middle section on the east side of town was checked next and was found to have no problems. It went back on line roughly two hours after the outage began.

The problem area was located on the south section of power lines where several tree limbs had caused a problem along a stretch of the utility lines that runs through the railroad right-of-way.

The tree limbs were removed and the final section in the loop was recharged at approximately 10:30 p.m.

"Locating the problem area is often the most difficult part of the job," Kittle stated. "We basically have to check each section of line until we find the problem area and that definitely can be time consuming, especially when people are waiting to get their power back on."

Kittle added that the city has been pretty fortunate this far into the spring considering the amount of thunderstorms and other bad weather experienced in the region, not to have had more outages.

He said when an outage is reported the crew pulls as much manpower into action as possible to make the downtime as short as possible for area residents.

This type of weather did create some minor problems Monday, June 4. Lightning was blamed for a momentary power outage or power surge that set off the fire alarms at the Scotland County Residential Terrace at 2:51 a.m.

The Scotland County Fire Department was dispatched to the scene along with the Memphis Police Department and the Scotland County Sheriff's Department. The facility was searched and no problem areas were located. The emergency service personnel were on the scene for approximately 20 minutes.

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