Power outage left 1,500 without electricity

Red Deer’s latest electricity outage happened at 4:45 p.m. on Monday and left about 1,500 residents in the city’s south end without electricity for about an hour.

Red Deer’s latest electricity outage happened at 4:45 p.m. on Monday and left about 1,500 residents in the city’s south end without electricity for about an hour.

Garfield Lee, senior electrical distribution engineer with the city’s Electric Light and Power Department, said a breaker on a feeder line was tripped due to lightning but there was no damage to equipment.

Primarily, customers along 40th Avenue as far north as Ross Street were affected.

“Between wind storms and lightning storms, we do tend to have more outages in the summer,” said Lee on Tuesday.

The worst storm so far this season happened on July 25. Wind gusts of 90 km/h toppled trees onto power lines, causing outages and surges around the city.

So far in 2014, the city has experienced 20 outages when power is off for more than one minute.

Lee said there is no indication there will be more outages this year than other years.

In 2013, Red Deer saw 149 similar outages. There were 122 in 2012, 90 in 2011 and 144 in 2010.

Lee said the main causes of outages are equipment issues; contact from vehicles, construction, or birds; and storms from snow, wind and falling trees.

Some day, the city would like to be able to keep track of fluctuations in electricity that can cause lights to flicker and computers to crash, he said.

“We’re hoping at some point to be able to, but it’s not easy so at the moment. We don’t have that ability.”

Lee said years ago people probably didn’t notice when their lights dimmed for a few seconds. But with so many electronic devices in the home, it’s more of an issue mpw, Lee said.

“Fluctuations can actually cause inconveniences for customers.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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