Gear Failure Caused Outages

ST. MARYS — Failing equipment is to blame for a pair of power outages this week that hit the city of St. Marys.

Electrical crews scheduled a planned power outage at approximately 3 a.m. Monday that was only to affect 25 customers on the south side of Spring Street from the St. Marys River to Main Street. Those customers affected were given advance notice. Interim Safety-Service Director Greg Foxhoven said during the change over — which included a new breaker and switch gear — the equipment malfunctioned. That outage affected a large portion of the city. On Wednesday, the same equipment failed, causing a portion of the city to lose power for approximately 33 minutes.

“Wednesday’s outage affected the northeastern part of town,” Foxhoven told The Evening Leader this morning. “Our rough estimates were that it affected 2,400 residential customers, 225 commercial customers and 10 industrial customers. It all related back to the new breaker and switch gear at the Tomlinson substation near the old power plant.”

Foxhoven said he plans to contact the contractor to determine what the issue is with the equipment. The city recently contracted with Spectrum Engineering for a review of its electrical infrastructure — something Foxhoven said should help identify any weaknesses in the city’s system.

“I am hoping it will shed some light on any issues we are having,” Foxhoven said. “My goal is to talk to them, this is now our third outage of the year and second in a week and that’s not acceptable. I want to talk to them and see if they have any advice for us or if we can change things that we are doing now while the study is on going.”

As calls flood into the police department during outages, Foxhoven encouraged residents to remain patient.

“It can be very busy,” Foxhoven said. “Usually if there is an officer on station, they will help answer calls. We encourage people to call if there are any outages, but please be patient. They will get through the calls as quickly as possible.”