Outage prompts work

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:05 PM

Late last week, the local utility was working with a crew from Kent Power to repair the 69,000-volt line that was taken out when a terminator blew about 11:25 p.m. Jan. 10.

That blown terminator shut off the power to more than 9,400 customers in the City of Grand Haven. The outage lasted about five hours until workers bypassed the damage and connected to a backup line under the Grand River.

The municipal utility's distribution superintendent, Jim Blekicki, said there normally would not have been an outage, but the line that patches Grand Haven into the Wolverine Power Cooperative from the south was down for repairs at the time.

The Wolverine line was put back into service temporarily a week ago. Blekicki said Wolverine would take it back down once repairs to the Grand Haven system are completed.

In the meantime, spare parts and the proper equipment to do those repairs on the main supply line to the city will be purchased, he added.

On Thursday, crews replaced the damaged terminator on the north side of the river near the railroad tracks. Another crew switched the connection on the south side of the river.

The terminator is an insulated connector placed where the power line goes from above ground to below ground.

Kent Power was contracted to do the repairs because the BLP does not have the equipment to work on a cable that size, Blekicki said.

The distribution superintendent said his crew worked closely with Kent Power workers to learn how to make the repairs once the city has its own equipment. He said that equipment, including a couple of backup terminators, costs about $10,000.

When the terminator failed, it tripped the power utility's transmission line, which also tripped and shut down the utility's main power plant on Harbor Island.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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