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Vehicle Hits Pole Causes Major Power Outage

Dec. 26, 2004 – Some Christmas dinners on St. Croix were delayed; as many residents found when they tried to turn on their stoves they had no power.
According to a press release from the Water and Power Authority, a vehicle hit a guy wire which anchored a utility pole in the Rosegate area early Christmas day and caused a chain reaction of power outages that lasted up to five hours in some areas.
According to Cassandra Dunn, WAPA corporate communications officer, the impact of the collision caused a vibration that destabilized several poles, ultimately cracked the electrical insulators, caused the primary lines to touch, and ignited a fire that burned off the top of a pole located on Feeder 3. This caused a short circuit in the system and two plant generators to trip off. Extensive repairs to the damaged pole and the electrical substation at the Richmond power plant were needed before the power could be restored.
Dunn said that the power outage immediately after the 1 p.m. accident was extensive, affecting much of the island. Power to most residents was quickly restored. However, the problems in the immediate area of the accident required more time-consuming repairs.
According to the press release, WAPA personnel, recognizing the importance of power during the holiday, attempted to tie two feeder lines together. While this solution worked momentarily, it ended up blowing a connection and taking the two feeder lines down.
Power to both feeders remained off while repairs were made. Power was restored to the entire island a little before 5 p.m.
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