Power outage causes a transformer to catch fire
Lassen Municipal Utility District Energy Services and Compliance Specialist Theresa Boucher said when an event such as this occurs on LMUD lines, the lines automatically trip, interrupting the flow of power throughout the entire system.
“The system is designed to operate in this manner in order to minimize damage to our facilities,” Boucher said.
She said line crews spent most of the night restoring power to the system. Boucher said LMUD cannot bring up the power grid all at once, because it may damage equipment. Crews faced a time-sensitive process to bring everyone back online, one area at a time. She said power was completely restored at roughly 12:40 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3.
In Westwood when power is out for more than five minutes Forest Duerksen, the firefighter technician for the Westwood Fire Department, starts a generator at the fire hall and switches the power from LMUD to the alternative system. In this way the fire department has a radio, lights and the ability to open the electric doors in the bay to get fire trucks out. In addition, the power at the gas station next door is switched to the generator in exchange for the fuel to run it.
Duerksen said during the power outage Oct. 2, the department had a little trouble with its generators but has since made the needed repairs.
Water service is not interrupted during a power outage in Westwood because the pumps, located at the spring house near Clear Creek, are serviced by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, according to Susan Coffi, the secretary for the Westwood Community Services District. In addition, the pumps have a generator for backup when PG&E is experiencing difficulties.
With winter approaching, most emergency preparedness experts advise people to be prepared for weather¬–related power outages. It’s a good idea to have flashlights with extra batteries in locations that are easy to access in a dark room. Also keep candles, candle holders and matches as well as a battery powered radio on hand.
Homes need an alternative source of heat if electricity is required for the main heating source. Food that does not require cooking or that can be heated on a woodstove should be available as well. Cordless phones will not work during a power outage so it is a good idea to keep a corded phone available.
Surge protectors should be installed on electric equipment such as computers, televisions and DVD players. During a power outage this equipment should be turned off and unplugged. Also turn down the thermostat and shut off major appliances to stabilize the electric system when power is restored.
For safety some advise residents not to use candles to light the house because they can be a fire hazard if left unattended. The refrigerator door should also be kept closed in order to keep food cold. According to the USDA, food must be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to stay safe. Refrigerated food should stay safe up to four hours but any perishable items that have been above 40 degrees for two hours should be discarded.
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