Short power outage in Columbia

Power outage prompts question whether more outages can happen in the summer

COLUMBIA, Mo. - About 450 people in central Columbia were without power for about 30 minutes Friday. Columbia Water and Light officials tell ABC 17 News a line clamp failed.

They say it was an older line and believe the clamp had been damaged by weather.

With the first stretch of hot weather on the horizon, ABC 17 News wanted to know if the city is expecting more outages like this.

City officials say as the temperatures rise they know there's going to be more strain put on the system. But they're not really worried about the heat.

Water and Light officials tell us outages in the summer months are mainly caused by weather, but they say heat isn't the biggest culprit.

"We're able to balance that from circuit to circuit quite readily with out field switches out on the distribution system itself," Columbia Water and Light Assistant Director Ryan Williams said.

What officials are most concerned about are rapidly changing winds. It's particularly concerning to them because they're predicting a record setting year for electricity usage.

In 2011, they received the highest peak the city has ever seen at 277 megawatts. Last summer got close but didn't break records. This summer, city leaders estimate the city will hit 285 megawatts.

Water and Light officials say they've taken lessons from previous hot summers. They tell us they can now manage the load factors better.

Electric officials tell us if there is an outage, there are systems in place to that can pinpoint where the fault is and lessen the total amount of time there is an outage. But they have to constantly watch the levels.

"Loads on the different feeders may pick up at different rates and we may actively switch those around to balance the load out that if an outage does occur it impacts the least amount of folks as possible," Williams said.

Unfortunately, Water and Light officials can't predict when or where an outage will happen, but they do believe they have done all they can to prevent these outages from happening.

comments powered by Disqus

ABC 17 News Stormtrack

  • Tuesday May 30 Morning Weather Video

Top Videos