Jul 29, 2014
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Batavia's Sunday Power Outage Caused by Substation Equipment Failure

A flash of light was likely due to the failure of a "potential transformer." About 2,400 customers on the north and northwest side of Batavia were without power for a little less than an hour Sunday.

Batavia's Sunday Power Outage Caused by Substation Equipment Failure
The mystery of Sunday's power outage in Batavia is a mystery no more.

"We had some equipment failure at a downtown electrical substation, which caused the main feeder lines to shut off," Public Works Director Gary Holm said.

About 2,400 customers on the north and northwest side of Batavia were without power for a little less than an hour Sunday night.

"It took us about 50 minutes to diagnose and do the switching," Holm said. "Basically, we isolated the downtown substation and utilitized other substations (to get the power up and running.)"

Holm said the malfunction was in a "potential transformer," which is sometimes called a voltage transformer and is used in an  electrical power system for "stepping down the system voltage to a safe value" and feed electricity to "low-ratings meters and relays," according to  electrical4u.com.

Holm said the transfer station is located on Shumway Avenue, just south of Wilson Street.

Many Batavia residents reported that they saw helicopters and a flash of light in the area at about that time — between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Sunday.

Holm said he couldn't speak to the helicopters, but a flash would have been consistent with the potential transformer failure.

"You will see an arc or flash of light, especially in the nighttime hours. It would have been an instant flash of light," he said.


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