Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 20, 2018

Curious raccoon leaves portion of MP in the dark

Jun 16, 2017
Photo by: Submitted Mt. Pleasant residents woke Thursday morning in the dark as a raccoon had caused a power outage. Utility crews worked for nearly an hour to restore power to the city.

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News


A curious raccoon was the cause of a power outage during the early morning hours on Thursday, June 15, 2017.

Jack Hedgecock, Mt. Pleasant Municipal Utilities general manager, said the high profile system outage occurred at 4 a.m. Thursday morning and impacted approximately 2,000 customers in the northern half of the city.

“The cause was due to a raccoon that climbed on top of the Adams Street Substation Control Building,” he said. “He shimmied under the fence, climbed up the building and got where he shouldn’t have been.”

The raccoon made contact with the high voltage feeder bushings located on the building roof and created a large electrical fault (15,000 amps).

Crews were dispatched out shortly after 4 a.m. and had power restored just after 5 a.m.

“The fault rapidly spread to the steel sub structure and went to ground. The newly installed protective SEL relays recognized the large fault and quickly cleared the condition by opening up both the sub main breaker and the 69 KV circuit switcher,” recounted Hedgecock.

The city recently completed upgrading the sub station to protect the relay equipment. Hedgecock said this upgrade allowed the issue to be solved quickly.

In a Facebook post, Hedgecock wrote that during an investigation into the outage, “several small technical anomalies were identified with the new protective relay system that hampered our efforts but we were able to correct those conditions with minimal issues. The large outage also tripped both of our water treatment plants off line and service was quickly restored by our water treatment standby employee.”

Hedgecock said most of the damage was minimal or cosmetic.

Hedgecock said animal-caused outages are fairly common in rural areas. To protect the system and the animals they have predator guards they place over feeder bushing. The guards are usually placed in areas that have repeat visitors from critters.

As power was restored, Hedgecock wanted to take a moment to thank the customers for their patience and understanding. “Nobody likes it when there’s a power outage, but our priority is always safety and correcting the issue as quickly as possible,” he said.

Hedgecock also took the opportunity to remind residents that if they see a “danger-high voltage” sign to steer clear as it could have hazardous consequences.


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