Public works director Phillip Bowman praised the City of Cody linemen for responding to a pair of power outages last week, the first of which led to five workers coming in on their day off.
“I’m very happy with our crews, they worked hard,” he said. “It was definitely an eventful week for our crew.”
The first outage was Nov. 11 around midday when an excavator on a construction crew working in the Beacon Hill area cut a power line, which led to a power outage around Big Horn Avenue and Sunset School. In all, five city workers responded and were able to fix the first circuit that had shut off power on Big Horn and, when they discovered it, fixed a second issue on the east Sheridan hill. Some places had power back within an hour, while some places up on the hill were back on the grid after two hours.
Bowman said the city is still investigating its records to determine if they had record of the utility lines being identified before digging began.
Two days later Bowman said high winds Nov. 13 caused power lines to arc and take out power about 6:45 p.m. at a substation near the golf course. This time two city workers were able to work with employees of power provider Western Area Power to reroute power from another area and get it back on in 60-90 minutes.
He said in both instances workers were able to take advantage of looped power in the city that allows for it to be routed from other areas and minimize the time places were without power.
“That’s part of our design strategy, we have those looped connections,” he said.
Bowman said high winds are always an issue with power lines, but while there’s only so much workers can do about the wind, he said they are aggressive in cutting back trees and limbs near power lines to avoid those falling on the lines.
“This was two things that unfortunately were out of our control,” he said, “but we did the best we could to respond.”
There was also a short outage Monday on Sheridan, but Bowman said it lasted just 90 seconds after a worker with Western Power accidentally knocked power off at a substation. The more common outages are much shorter than that. Bowman said, while not weekly, the system does more frequently have shortages lasting just a few seconds that happen when a circuit is broken.
The system automatically opens and closes the circuit three times to fix the problem. Only if that is unsuccessful is a crew called out to fix the problem.