Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 3, 2014

City crews respond to morning power outage

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — City utility crews were dispatched early Monday to resolve a power outage in southeast Thomasville.

At about 5:40 a.m., an electrical component known as a lightning arrester failed, damaging underground utilities located within the Archbold Medical Center Complex, resulting in an electric service outage.

The outage lasted about two hours and affected about 130 customers in the South Broad Street-Mimosa Drive area.

Lightning arresters are electrical network components used to dissipate voltages that exceed the electric circuit’s normal operating amount, such as in the event of a lightning strike.

“When lightning arresters fail, they have the potential to fail in grand fashion. This was one of those times,” said Director of Electric Engineering and Electric Operations Bruce Whittington. “When this lightning arrester failed, it damaged a transformer, which then caused a breaker to open, resulting in the outage.”

“When the lightning arresters are located on a power pole, failures are not that serious of an issue, but when they are located underground, it compounds the issue due to the fact that they are in a small, enclosed space with many other components,” he added.

Because of affected utilities being located underground, city staff relied on training, skill and experience to quickly locate and address the cause of the outage.

“When underground utilities are involved, it takes much more skill to identify the origin of the outage and restore service,” Whittington said.