Momentary power outages in Fort Friday, Sunday

July 17, 2017

A pair of unrelated incidents caused momentary power outages Friday and Sunday in the Fort Atkinson area.

Such outages of less than five minutes are considered momentary. We Energies spokesperson Brian Manthey said they can be caused by wildlife, weather or trees making brief contact with the electrical lines, or by contractor dig-ins into underground facilities.

In many instances, he said, the electrical system will reset itself within minutes.

Both occurrences in the Fort Atkinson area were based at the substation on Hoard Road in the Town of Koshkonong.

Manthey said that on Friday, July 14, at 5:50 p.m,. something happened to the feeder line, or one of the main lines that go out to a particular area from a transformer at the substation.

He said the momentary outage affected about 1,300 customers.

“Something happened along the line to those that to go out,” Manthey said.

Upon investigation, crews located the remains of a squirrel that apparently had ventured too close to the line.

A total of 4,200 We Energies customers experienced a momentary outage on Sunday morning around 11:15 a.m.

“That was due to a transformer within the substation having tripped for a few brief seconds,” Manthey said.

Similar to a home circuit breaker, it automatically transfers the power load to another transformer within the substation, leaving customers with those few seconds or blink of an outage.

“When a breaker goes here, it is the same principal (as in a home) but the system transfers it to another transformer,” he said.

Crews still were investigating the root cause of the malfunction as of Monday morning.

Manthey noted that unlike Friday’s incident that involved a squirrel, Sunday’s problem did not appear to be related to wildlife, based on the preliminary examination of the equipment.