Melting fuses cause outages for Glenwood Springs customers
September 1, 2009
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Power outages last weekend have left some Glenwood Springs Electric customers asking questions.
According to Glenwood City Manager Jeff Hecksel, engineers discovered some of the fuses in two of Glenwood’s electric substations were melting, causing the outages, though they aren’t sure what caused the melting.
“That is the only explanation we have at this point,” Hecksel said.
Glenwood Electric Department superintendent Doug Hazzard said “we are experiencing some difficulty at our substations, and our engineers are looking into it to resolve the problems, but that is about all we know right now.”
Hazzard was unavailable for further comment. Hecksel said that he had spoken with Hazzard earlier in the day and was apprised of the situation.
According to Hecksel, the city’s electric department took its north substation off-line last week for some maintenance work, but he did not know what work specifically was being done. While shutting down the north substation, its electrical load was distributed to the city’s remaining two substations.
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Hecksel said that the way the substations are configured the two remaining substations should have been able to handle the load, but were not.
“Everything was checked out beforehand, and it was double-checked, and it should work,” Hecksel said.
But as the outages continued through the weekend, engineers found some of the fuses in the substations were melting, Hecksel said.
“What’s happening is that we have fuses that are melting,” Hecksel said. “So, while on paper the fuses should be able to handle the load, they are not.”
Hecksel said that city engineers are now working to replace the fuses with ones that will be able to handle the additional load.
It was determined Monday that work to the north substation will be put on hold, and the substation will be brought online again to distribute the power to all three substations as normal. This will be done in an effort to try and eliminate the outages, Hecksel said.
However, it could take up to three days for the north substation to be up and running, he said. He was unsure if more outages would occur over the next few days.
“I hope not,” Hecksel said. “Based on what Hazzard told me, the plan is to get the substation up and running in the next few days, and we’ll get that done as soon as possible. But I can’t say that [the outages] will happen or won’t happen.”
Hecksel expected the replacement fuses for the substations could take between two to four weeks to arrive. At that point, the work on the north substation would resume.
Glenwood Springs Electric service territory covers approximately 34 square miles and provides electrical service to about 4,460 residents and about 1,241 commercial customers, according to the city’s website.
Hecksel said that the outages began Friday in southern parts of the city, and continued through other parts of the city throughout the weekend.