Power Outage News

Thursday afternoon was cloudy with interspersed rain but none of that was the cause of a power outage that affected about 9,600 Penelec customers, including Corry and Union City.

There were two outages, one lasting one minute and another lasting about six minutes.

The first was recorded from 11:34 a.m. to 11:35 a.m., Penelec spokesperson Todd Meyers said.

"There is a transmission line that runs from one of our substations in the Erie area to a substation in Union City. That particular transmission line tripped out for about a minute."

Union City's substation has lines that feed Corry's substation, which was why Corry was impacted.

"They are all interconnected," Meyers said.

The line automatically came back on within a minute, but not before impacting customers in the south east part of Erie County, including — in addition to Corry and Union City — Waterford, Townville, Mill Village, and Guys Mills and Spartansburg in Crawford County.

The second outage happened between 3:10 and 3:16 p.m. The cause of the disruptions was found after this second event, Meyers said.

There are 60-foot-tall H structures that hold the lines between substations, insulators and other equipment. They consist of two poles with a crossbar at the top of the structure and hold larger lines that link the substations together. 

One pole near the Union City substation was found with the top crossbar broken. 

The first outage was caused when the crossbar began to break. The second outage happened when the crossbar broke completely. 

Such an electrical fault sends a signal to nearby substations that have protections in place similar to a home's breaker box in order to protect expensive equipment, Meyers said.

Since electricity travels at about the speed of light, even a small disruption causes almost instantaneous reaction in every place that is connected directly from that substation.

Repairs will be made today, but Meyers said no one expects the repairs to cause any further interruption of electrical service.

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