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.
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