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Short Power Outage in Hawesville Tuesday

A power outage occurred in Hawesville on Tuesday, January 9th, from around 4:00 p.m. to approximately 8:00 p.m. due to a switch/breaker going bad and causing a transmission failure at the substation located across from the Hancock County Fairgrounds on 1389.

A wide area was affected, and there were a little over 2,000 without power. Part of the City of Hawesville was down and then feeding out Hwy 69, part of that area was down as well.

Kenergy Board Representative for Hancock County Brent Wigginton said, “They’re still investigating but what we know, as of right now, a switch did go bad, or a breaker, whichever you want to call it.

It did go bad and when it went bad it caused fault within the whole substation because when you have a switch go bad it’s going to cause faults.

The switch went bad and tripped, causing a fault within the station. When it caused a fault within the station, that shut the station down. They are investigating right now because they think it was, in all likelihood, weather related.

They said a lot of times when you go through a dry spell, where we haven’t had a lot of rain, and then you start getting some rain then that moisture can, more or less, magnify an issue that may’ve been there that wasn’t seen because we weren’t getting any rain.

The wind could’ve blown a piece of debris in there that shorted everything out and caused the switch to trip. It could’ve been a piece of debris; they don’t know yet.

The substation crew is out there today (Wednesday) investigating it and trying to find what actually caused the switch to go bad. They’ve got to be able to pinpoint what caused it, and need to figure out if it was a component failure, or if it actually was caused by weather. They’re trying to determine that.

It wasn’t anything on any of the lines, or any lines down outside of the substation that caused it. In all likelihood, weather did play a part in it but not in the fact that it put a tree over a line or something like that. It probably was a combination of wind and rain that magnified the problem with the switch.

It could be mechanical; you never know. It could’ve been something to do with the wind and the weather that could’ve caused some feeder lines to start whipping out in the system and it could have ended up causing a surge to cause those breakers to fail. Last time I talked to them they had not found anything on the lines or any lines down.”

Power outages occur for many reasons. Failures can happen at any point in the process of delivering electricity, whether it be with distribution, transmission, or an insufficient electricity generation. The most common are distribution failures, and these usually only affect a small area.

These happen due to weather sometimes, such as when high winds blow a tree branch onto a power line. They can also happen when a car crashes into a power pole, or even when a critter such as a squirrel becomes too curious and goes into parts of a substation, just to name a couple.

“We just happen to have a regularly scheduled Kenergy Board meeting Thursday night,” Wigginton added. “Operations gives a report at those meetings and I’m sure that’s going to be in the report, as to what exactly happened.”

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