November 5, 2013

City outage affects about 1,000 customers

PLATTSBURGH — About 1,000 homes and businesses lost power for almost an hour in the City of Plattsburgh on Monday morning.

The culprit was a relay circuit at the St. Lawrence 1 substation at the end of Veterans Lane, according to Municipal Lighting Department Manager William Treacy.

The relay is a device that monitors the electric systems and triggers the substation to shut down if it believes there is a problem, Treacy explained.

“If it thinks there is a problem, it will initiate a shutdown so people and equipment are protected,” he said.

The power went out around 7:20 a.m. and was not restored until about 8:10 a.m.

Treacy said most of those affected were in the West and South ends of the city.

CVPH Medical Center was forced to switch to generator power, and City Police were called out to direct traffic at intersections where traffic lights were dark.

No accidents or injuries were reported, police said in a news release.

CVPH spokeswoman Michelle Powers said the transition to generators went smoothly.

“We have a crisis-management team that goes into motion when something like this happens, and the system worked well,” Powers said.

Treacy said MLD crews were searching for what caused the relay to initiate the substation shutdown.

“When something like this happens, we have to go and physically inspect the lines, and there are a lot of lines to check out,” he said.

There was a power outage Oct. 8 in the South End and part of the Center City for about 90 minutes.

That blip was caused by an apparent lighting strike that tripped the relay and caused it to shut down the St. Lawrence 3 substation on Arizona Avenue in the South End.

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