Thursday, January 24, 2013
Weather causes utility problems
By SUE WATSON
There was double or triple trouble at the Holly Springs Utility Department last week, beginning with a broken eight-inch water main on Highway 4 East at Little Snow Creek.
General manager Don Hollingsworth said about 20 feet of water line cracked after heavy rains Sunday, Jan. 13, but HSUD water department employees could not get to it until 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14. It was an all-day affair with the problem solved late in the day, he said.
The area affected was issued a three-day boil water advisory.
Then trouble reared its head again about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, following ice storm conditions that created buildup of ice on surface vegetation and caused tree limbs to bow over and touch utility lines.
Hollingsworth said a circuit from the Ashland station was out and the Potts Camp circuit was out from 3:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The outages were due to trees falling on the lines in very remote areas, one near Ashland at Robinson Road and CCC Road that blew a main circuit breaker at 10 p.m. Tuesday. Power to about 1,000 customers was restored by about 11:45 p.m. January 15 in the Potts Camp, Lake Center and Ashland areas.
Sporadic outages were seen over the whole system Wednesday, Jan. 16, from Laws Hill to Benton County. But no high voltage or major lines were down, Hollingsworth said. One utility pole broke on Breedlove Road.
“At the peak we had approximately 1,000 customers out,” he said. “By midnight less than 100 customers were out, and late Wednesday afternoon only five to 10 customers were still without power.”
Hollingsworth said work on rights-of-way under power lines has really paid off during storms such as this one. The department has plans to keep improving rights-of-way to prevent as many outages as possible during severe weather events.
Northcentral Electric Power Association had about 60 scattered outages, according to general manager Kevin Doddridge. The largest outage was caused by a tree on the line at Highway 178 and Berta Road that affected about 1,700 consumers for an hour, he said.
“Overall, not that bad,” Doddridge said.
Schools reopened Thursday of last week and most ice on trees had melted by afternoon, thanks to the sun.
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