A power outage at a transmission pole somewhere in the Jumbo Lake area knocked power out for about two hours in all of Lincoln County Sunday afternoon, and a little bit longer in the Mt. Wilson, Dry Lake area.
Occurring approximately at 3:20 p.m. and lasting until around 5:40 p.m., Lincoln County Power District General Manager Dave Luttrell said the outage was caused by “a ground wire breaking loose from the power and shorting out one of the main 69 kV transmission lines.”
He explained a ground wire runs along the side of the pole to the ground. “It is stapled to the pole. The high winds we were experiencing pulled it loose and it touched a live wire.”
He explained further that the power poles in the area where the outage occurred are from 1936, “and the ground wire is there for lightning protection and shunting to ground. But the staples that hold the wire to the pole are the same age and as the poles get older and dry out, the staples pull loose. Each one is a little bigger than a fence post staple, but similar in appearance. On this pole, the high winds just worked the wire loose.”
Maintenance work to replace the original poles has been going on for several years, but can only be done when the district has money in the budget. “It’s a section we haven’t gotten to yet,” Luttrell said, “right above a section we are currently working on.”
He said repair time Sunday evening was relatively short. “It was quite an easy fix. Most of the time involved was due to finding where the outage was. Alamo Power helped us locate and pinpoint the general area. With that in mind, we were able to reroute some power and restore Coyote Springs and Western Elite within about half an hour.”
Following that, Luttrell said, “Then it was just having two of our workers patrol from pole to pole in a given area checking for the problem until they found it and made the necessary repairs.” There is about 500 feet between each pole.
He said restoring power to the majority of the rest of the county came after about two hours. “It did take a bit longer, about another hour, for customers north of Pioche at Mt. Wilson, Lake Valley and Geyser Ranch.”