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City officials find possible source for Friday’s electrical problems PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican

City officials suspect a piece of cable tossed up into an electrical line caused the low power experienced Friday that eventually led to shutting down the entire town’s electricity for a time.    
Public Works Supt. Pat Davison told council members Monday night they had yet to determine the cause of the blown 69,000-volt fuse that happened at 5:50 p.m. Friday.
However, as employees were reading meters Tuesday, the cable was spotted by employee Dan Leibhart still lodged in the cross arm in the overhead electric lines.
“He just looked up and saw something hanging there,” Davison said.
It was a six to eight-foot piece of safety cable that likely was tossed up there on purpose, Davison said.
The contact caused the fuse to open up in the substation west of the coop elevators, which then shut down one phase of city power.
Utility customers then began to experience low power in their electrical appliances and lighting in parts of town. City officials had to turn off all the power to fix the problem.
The sudden loss of power caused damage to at least two pieces of equipment reported to the city. Davison said he was contacted by employees at Alco, where a computer was lost, and by another resident whose TV was damaged.
Davison said city employees probably spent about eight man-hours looking for other causes, such as an animal or a vehicle running into a power pole, with no success.
“This is our best idea now of what caused the blown fuse,” he said Tuesday afternoon.
Davison said city insurance will not cover acts of vandalism.
Cost of replacing the fuse will be about $300, he said.
The incident is being investigated by the Imperial Police Department. Location of the power pole involved was not disclosed.


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