Surge to blame for Niles power outagePublished 10:04am Wednesday, March 20, 2013
A power surge is to blame for the widespread power outage that affected around 4,400 customers in the city of Niles Tuesday afternoon.
The outage occurred around 5:15 p.m. and lasted roughly 90 minutes, according to City Administrator Ric Huff.
The city’s arrester banks, which Huff said work like a surge protector, caught the surge.
“It did its job, protected our infrastructure, protected people’s homes,” he said.
Utility crews then repaired the damaged arrester banks. Five of the city’s seven power substations were affected.
All the power didn’t come back on at once. Electrical Superintendent Randy Stevens said crews had to reactivate each substation individually, resulting in some areas of the city receiving power before others. Around 4,400 customers of 7,500 were without power.
“They would’ve all come online within 20 minutes or so of each other,” he said.
It is currently unknown what caused the surge, although Stevens said an investigation into the cause is ongoing. He said the power outage was not an AEP issue.
“Typically they occur when a tree or something is knocked into a line and the lines come in contact with each other,” he said.
Huff said the city has experienced similar outages in the past, but it’s been several years since the last one.
“The only really large outage I can remember was four maybe five years ago and we had a fairly large storm,” he said. “Fortunately, it is pretty rare for us in the city to lose power.”