Thursday, May 29, 2008

Snakes Alive! Reptile Cause of Outage

Article from Murray Ledger & Times
An electrical darkness blanketed Murray (Kentucky) and portions of Calloway County Tuesday morning, stalling every aspect of life that requires a current. Stoplights were blank, bank signs registered nothing and morning coffee hotspots were still. Much of the city of Murray and 6,000 West Kentucky Rural Electric Co-op customers have a large snake to thank for their morning inconveniences.

According to Tony Thompson, general manager at Murray Electric System, the snake knocked out the main substation located off of South Fourth Street sometime between 6:00 or 6:15am. About an hour later, power was restored. “The first place we started looking was there,” Thompson said. Once the problem was found, he said it didn't take long to get the city back online. The MES website notes, "Power was knocked out to a good portion of Tuesday morning when a snake crawled into high voltage equipment at one of our substations. Mother Nature can be one of the biggest enemies of electric power!"

The snake also affected the eastern portion of Calloway County whose West Kentucky Rural Electric power supply comes from the Fourth Street substation. Jeremy Greer, construction foreman for West Kentucky RECC, said the reach of the outage stretched along Ky. 94 East to Highway 1346. The Calloway County Sheriff's Department reportedly received several calls from that area and also along Ky. 121 South. A Murray Police Department dispatcher reported it was a “hectic” morning, but there were no “major problems.”

The fire department responded to fire alarms, which the dispatcher said is common when the power goes out. Traffic signals were also out all over town. “It happens every now and then,” said Greer of an animal causing such an outage. He added that it's difficult to stop a snake from entering a substation.

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