Downtown Red Deer rendered powerless

A power outage interrupted lunch-hour activities and caused traffic congestion in downtown Red Deer on Thursday.

An RCMP officer talks to the uninjured male drivers after a collision at Ross Street and 51st Avenue over the noon hour on Thursday: a major power outage knocked out traffic lights around the downtown core

A power outage interrupted lunch-hour activities and caused traffic congestion in downtown Red Deer on Thursday.

Ligong Gan, manager of Red Deer’s Electric Light and Power Department, said a random malfunction in a power gear box north of downtown triggered the protection relay system that shut down power to prevent equipment damage and power loss to other areas.

“This is really rare but it happens,” said Gan, who couldn’t remember the last outage in the city’s core. It is the city’s most densely populated area during the day and uses the most power per square metre.

It happened at the worst possible time. But power was restored within 20 minutes to an hour within the core, he said.

“We don’t have any equipment damage because of the fast-acting protection system. But the power outage did create a lot of problems for customers because it was during a busy time, during a busy day.”

“We appreciate the patience and co-operation from customers.”

The outage impacted the downtown from 45th to 52nd Street and from 47th to 52nd Avenue.

The protection relay system is like a breaker in a home that trips to protect the rest of the home from power failure.

“It will quickly shut down the system. If you don’t do that, a transformer might blow up, failure might occur to a cable or the line may be melted down.”

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