National Grid says cause still unknown for failure of high-voltage lines serving East Bay, Aquidneck Island
Feb 10, 2013 (The Providence Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The weekend snow storm left close to 200,000 Rhode Island customers without power at some point, much of that when two transmission lines serving most of Aquidneck Island failed.
As of about 11 a.m. Sunday, the number of customers without power had fallen to about 72,000, with National Grid promising that most would have power by late Sunday night.
National Grid said the virtual total blackout on Aquidneck Island and much of East Bay was due to problems on high-voltage wires serving the area, the type that are on high towers passing through undeveloped corridors.
"They carry more than 69,000 volts from power plants to distribution companies, such as National Grid," said David Graves, a National Grid spokesman. "They tie in at sub-stations that lower the voltage and send it out on primary feeder lines that continue to lower the voltage."
It's unclear, Graves said, what caused the transmission lines to fail.
"Finding the cause is made by visual inspection. And to do that, you've got to wade through waist-deep snow."
The transmission lines are back in operation, Graves said, and workers are checking for damage in the rest of the distribution system: street power lines and transformer boxes on street poles.
"When you lose power in a transmission line, you lose power to tens of thousands of customers," Graves said.
National Grid power outages in Rhode Island
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