PLATTSBURGH — Power was knocked out in a major portion of the City of Plattsburgh Monday afternoon, but the cause remained a mystery.
“We don’t know what really happened,” Municipal Lighting Department Manager William Treacy said Monday evening.
“We can’t find anything wrong right now.”
The electricity shut off in about half of the city, from the South End through much of the Center City and to parts of the North End shortly after 4 p.m. It remained out for about 90 minutes as crews tried to find the culprit.
The West End did not lose power.
“It might have been a lightning strike because we had several calls from people who said they saw a bright flash and heard a loud bang,” Treacy said.
The flash and bang were reported to be in the area of Lozier and Riley avenues in the North End. Treacy said a high-voltage 115-kv line runs through that area, and it could have been hit by lightning.
It rained extremely hard around 4 p.m. Monday, and visibility was hampered.
“People said they saw something but were not exactly sure where it was,” Treacy said.
The system automatically shut down at the St. Lawrence 3 substation on Arizona Avenue in the South End of the city, Treacy said. Whenever there is too much voltage in the line, the protective relay switches kick in and shut down the system, he explained.
“We checked it and didn’t find any dead animals or trees that might have caused it,” Treacy said.
“There were pockets of orange on the weather report, and there could have been some lightning.”
MLD crews finish work for the day at 3 p.m., so Treacy had to call them back in to fix the problem.
Crews were put in strategic places throughout the city, and the system was turned back on.