Transmission line trips, causes power outage, St. George areas

ST. GEORGE – A widespread power outage occurred in the early morning hours Saturday and lasted 10-12 minutes when a transmission line tripped interrupting service to parts of Southern Utah. St. George Energy Services put the outage at around 12:30 a.m., Rocky Mountain Power places it from 12:54-1:08 a.m.

The Sigurd to Three Peaks transmission line tripped. It brings the energy feed from the Sigurd area to Cedar City and south into the St. George area.

The cause is yet to be determined. Protective devices detected some kind of problem and opened circuits, which stops the power transmission as part of the protective system for the line and lines to customers, Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen said.

Transmission operators were able to test the line, close the circuits and restore power in short order. A variety of things could have happened, but the fact operators were able to close the circuits quickly indicates that the problem was transitory, Eskelsen said, as opposed to something like a tree falling that would have taken the line out. Lightning strikes are a common factor in taking out a line but there are no indications of weather factors this morning.

It could be as simple as an animal getting into the lines,  Garyd Casteel, City of St. George energy services power systems control operator, said. 

Transmission operators are currently patrolling the line on the ground and by helicopter to find the problem. 

The City of St. George’s energy services department has been working throughout the morning to have a contingency plan in place in case there is an ongoing factor.

“We’ve talked to Questar Gas to get our Millcreek generators on line,” Casteel said. “Hopefully, we would be able to power the city in a couple hours worst case and should be able to keep it going until we get our normal feed.”

Cedar City area customers did not lose power, Eskelsen said, but an estimated 11,500 customers RMP customers were affected. Additionally, power customers of St. George, Dixie Power, Ivins and other rural electric associations or REAs were affected.

A second feed that serves the St. George area is the Red Butte to Harry Allen line. Casteel said that it is presently down for maintenance.

Email: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

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4 Comments

  • Bruce Bennett April 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Can I just say how scary it is if a wily raccoon can take out a good chunk of St. George!!!

  • Brian Daniels April 6, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I was awake during the time of the outage. It was kind of eerie. There was cloud cover so once the power went down there was no light from the moon, stars, or anything artificial. I live in the middle of the city in Saint George and it was pitch pitch pitch blaaaaacccckkkk. In fact, after taking 3 steps out my front door, I could no longer see my front door! It was just me and outer darkness (and a small flashlight).

    • Bub April 6, 2014 at 9:58 am

      It’s how night is supposed to look. Wayyyyyyyyy too much artificial light imo.

  • Julie Woodgate October 5, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    We were preparing for bed as the lights went from bright to War of the Worlds Dark! Scrambling for flashlights we scsned the sky’s just in case.went outside to make sure no Zombies were wondering, before we could get a mob together, by dang the lights were back on……sorry no Purge this year! I guess it’s back to the Cabin in the Woods at Crystal Lake.

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