Thousands lose power after vandal shoots up transformer

Garkane Energy workers inspect a main transformer that was shot multiple times with a high-powered rifle, Garfield County, Utah, Sept. 25, 2016 | Photo courtesy Garkane Power, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – An act of vandalism knocked out electricity to thousands of residents of Kane and Garfield counties for more than seven hours Sunday afternoon.

Garkane Energy’s southern system went down at approximately 12:40 p.m. after someone shot a main transformer several times with a high-powered rifle. The affected area included Kanab, Big Water, Orderville, Glendale, Hatch and other small neighboring towns.

Power was restored at approximately 8 p.m. after Garkane installed a portable substation.

Crews were able to quickly install the replacement to reduce outage time and get power restored before dark.

Because of the extensive damage to the main transformer, repairs will be ongoing for the next 12 months, the statement said.

Company officials are working with local police and possibly federal authorities to find the person or persons responsible for the incident.

“This is a very serious criminal offense that will bring a severe punishment to those found guilty,” Garkane officials said in a statement.

“Garkane wishes to reiterate the serious nature of this type of criminal offense. Any sort of vandalism made to electricity equipment is considered a criminal offense and is punishable by law,” the statement said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Kane County Sheriff’s Department at 435-644-2349.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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  • .... September 26, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    No problem plea bargain. 20 dollar fine and community service

    • ladybugavenger September 26, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      That’s the problem with this country! No fear of consequences

  • RealMcCoy September 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Vandals? Or terrorists testing the power grid for weaknesses and response times?
    This is not an isolated incident, by the way.

    • .... September 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      It’s Obamas fault !

      • mesaman September 26, 2016 at 9:09 pm

        I think it was Hillary’s fault, so she could blame Trump and give the MSM something to write about.

    • Kristi September 27, 2016 at 12:50 am

      I’m with you to a point!!! I don’t doubt for one min that there are terrorist groups testing different response times. What I don’t think is they are going to do it here in Ut. They are trying to take over and Obama is letting it happen!!! Look at all the NO GO ZONES what is up with that??? May God help us all!!!

  • Brian September 27, 2016 at 9:20 am

    FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) published an internal study in 2014 ( saying that terrorists could take down just 9 interconnecting transformers (similar to this, but at critical points where major grids are joined) and take out the entire US power grid for a YEAR. Imagine a year without electricity. Which would also mean a year largely without gas. And hospitals. And fast food. And entertainment. And the Internet. And social media. And EBT cards (heaven help us!).

    Someone recreated that study using only publicly available data and came up with 15 substations (which are entirely unprotected aside from a chain link fence) that could be taken out in exactly the same way this one was, or using a very inexpensive “carbon fiber bomb”, which would take out the entire US grid for a year.

    Given that timing I doubt this was some drunk hick with a rifle. This was a dry run, probing effort by terrorists. And rural Utah is the ideal place to do such a test.

    • Bob September 27, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      omg, might wanna loosen up that tinfoil hat a bit, its cutting circulation to ur brain –if there even was any, lol

      • Brian September 27, 2016 at 5:08 pm

        Yeah, because being informed and aware are such liabilities. Some of the greatest military losses in history came about because of two things: complacency or underestimating the enemy (ie. lack of imagination).

        Enjoy your complacency.

  • Brian September 27, 2016 at 11:48 am

    By the way, the liquid in the picture is mineral oil and is used to cool the transformer by transferring heat out to the fins where it can dissipate into the air. The bullets themselves didn’t necessarily damage the transformer, rather they let the mineral oil drain out and then the transformer cooked itself, rendering it useless and irreparable.

    That begs the question: why don’t they build these (or retrofit them) with fluid level sensors or temperature sensors so they shut down when they detect the fluid going down and the temperature going up? The damage from the bullets themselves is likely minimal and can be repaired relatively easily and cheaply.

    • wilbur September 27, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      not mineral oil – very, very highly purified oil SPECIFICALLY designed for insulating and cooling transformers. expensive stuff.

      Many transformers have thermal shut down devices; whether this model is so equipped is unknown.

      the jihadiis can kill more Americans by taking down vulnerable points in the grid than by pointing rifles; interrupt power for a year.

      see how many die.

      • Bob September 27, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        so arab muslims are down in so. ut shooting up transformers? i’d bet it’s some bored rednecks or some a-hole teenagers with daddy’s huntin’ rifle

      • Bob September 27, 2016 at 7:09 pm

        humm… censored. was it bc of “arab muslim”

        • Bob September 28, 2016 at 9:26 pm

          oops not censored. my mistake. hehe

  • .... September 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I got a new goldfish today

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