Controlled burn leads to power outage

Published 1:24 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

DIRECTING TRAFFIC AT FIVE POINTS during Tuesday morning’s power outage is Bainbridge Public Safety Officer Archie Mills.

A large area of Bainbridge temporarily lost power Tuesday morning, after a Georgia Power transmission line was damaged, a company employee said.

The outage happened shortly after 10:20 a.m. Tuesday and affected customers in West Bainbridge, downtown and the central and southern areas of the city, said Adam Vessell, the key account manager at Georgia Power’s Bainbridge office.

The outage was caused when a controlled burn apparently expanded onto Georgia Power’s right-of-way and set fire to a large wooden transmission pole, causing it to fall down, Vessell said. The pole was carrying a 115,000-volt power line, which experienced a fault, he said.

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The outage lasted only a few seconds at The Post-Searchlight, Bainbridge College and City Hall, while some businesses along South Scott Street and Tallahassee Highway were without power for up to 35 minutes. To fix the problem, Georgia Power had to switch circuits at the affected substation, said Vessell, who added that he received notification that power was back online for all customers by 11:03 a.m.

Vessell said some customers reported flickering lights after the outage, which was due to ongoing switching at the substation.

Bainbridge Public Safety officers kept busy conducting traffic at intersections where traffic lights had gone out along Scott Street and Tallahassee Highway.

AT&T crews and a utility contractor replacing bulbs in street lights could also be seen traveling around Bainbridge at midday Tuesday. However, their employees said their work was unrelated to the repair of the outage.