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City crews deal with power failures

Keeping the lights on became a challenge for people and businesses in the northeast area of Red Deer on Sunday as crews worked to repair a damaged power pole.

There were a couple of minor outages caused by transformer failures early Saturday morning, said Garfield Lee, senior electrical distribution engineer for the city.

However, things got a little dicey and the section of Taylor Drive from 58th Street to 75th Street was closed temporarily when a wooden pole caught fire and dropped wires onto the street at about 8 a.m.

Lee said the problem started when a buildup of ice and dust on an insulator drew a trickle of electricity directly to the pole.

Normally, such an event would cause a bit of smouldering with little other damage, said Lee.

However, in this case, the pole caught fire and failed at the top, bringing down the wires it had been supporting.

Crews had to take a number of measures to deal with the failure, including shutting off power while they replaced the pole and reconnected the broken wires.

The result was that, besides the initial power failure in the immediate area, crews had to shut power off to more areas while they replaced the pole. Between 1,000 and 2,000 customers in the area were affected at one point or another during the day, said Lee.

Power in the area was fully restored by 8 p.m., he said.

The fallen wires was a particular concern because of the danger of electricity travelling along the ground in the immediate area, said Lee.

An additional failure at traffic lights on the south side of the city was not related to the Taylor Drive incident, he said.

 
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