Power provider infrastructure leads to outage
New Hampton Light Plant General Manager Brian Quirk knows that a mid-day, if you will, power outage is the worse possible scenario for the utility’s customers.
That’s why he feels he owes an explanation for Monday’s short power outage that left parts of New Hampton dark for more than a half hour.
And it basically comes down to this: Aging infrastructure with the Light Plant’s power provider, Corn Belt Power Cooperative.
“Basically, we lost our incoming power, and we weren’t the only area affected by this,” Quirk said of the power outage that occurred around 4 p.m. “The problem with that time of the day is that our industries are still cranked up, we still have a lot of kids at school and it’s one of the worst possible times.”
He said the Light Plant immediately cranked up its own generators but even that took time.
“It’s not like you start the generators and just flip a switch,” he said. “You have to equalize the system and basically you’re going all around town to do that.”
He said the Light Plant ran its generators for about three hours while Corn Belt fixed the transmission line that actually was located in the city near the intersection of Chestnut Avenue and Jefferson Street.
In a letter to the editor that will appear in Tuesday’s Tribune, Quirk wrote about infrastructure challenges.
“Aging infrastructure continues to be an issue that is plaguing much of the grid,” Quirk wrote. Efforts are underway to rebuild the grid system. Our power provider and New Hampton have made made significant investments towards designing and implementing improvements to the system while being mindful of the rate players.”