Power customers throughout Chillicothe fared well during the big snows of winter 2012-13, but it wasn’t until a wet, heavy snow arrived in mid-spring that the entire town was without power for more than three hours.
CMU purchases power on the grid and the transmission provider is NW Electric. NW Electric, on Friday, after nearly 5 inches of snow had fallen, experienced voltage issues which cut CMU off the system, according to Jim Gillilan, CMU’s general manager. CMU has two ties coming into that substation, one for the east side of town and the other for the west side.
Power went out at 8:55 a.m. and was restored at 12:16 p.m.
Northwest reported to CMU that snow on the lines caused them to be weighed down and slap together, thus creating voltage issues.
After the situation took out power to the entire town — 4,650 customers — Chillicothe soon took steps to start its own power generation.
“The first thing we do is determine how long the outage will be,” Gillilan said. “If it will be over an hour, we will bring our own generation on.”
Gillilan said that it normally takes about a half-hour to bring its own generation on; however, there were some setbacks because of a “black start” situation. Before long, though, CMU was notified that they soon would be able to get back on the NW system.
“We don’t test it everyday,” Gillilan said of the city’s own generating system. “We’ve brought our generation on several times before and had no issues with it, but we were trying to bring one of our units up and had problems.
He said today (Monday) that CMU has taken corrective steps and will be prepared for the next time.
“Hopefully, there won’t be a next time,” he said.
It has been quite some time, if ever, that the entire city has been without power for an extended period of time. Gillilan said that the city has lost power in the past, but normally it has been for less than an hour.
In an unrelated weather situation, around 350 customers were without power from 5:10 until 7:30 a.m. Friday due to a tree limb in the line on the west side of town between Polk and Jackson, from Cherry to Highland.
Gillilan said there were also a few other smaller outages.
CMU’s general manager stated that he appreciated the cooperation from the street and police departments.
“They both were instrumental in seeing that we got things back in order.”