Many AmerenUE customers were without electricity because of two separate power outages Tuesday afternoon on what was the year’s hottest day so far.
Mike Cleary, spokesman for AmerenUE, said a total of 1,697 customers were without electricity beginning at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, with the first outage, affecting 504 customers west of US 67, in areas including Park Hills, Doe Run and Farmington.
The second power outage, occurring a minute after the first one, left 1,193 customers without power for 5 1/2 hours in an area stretching from Farmington, Knob Lick and Fredericktown.
“We reported them as two separate outages, but they may have been related,” Cleary said.
The causes of both outages were a complex problem, according to Cleary, but the company did know the second outage was caused by the failure of an insulator on a 34,000 volt line, which caused the line to fall to the ground. Cleary did not know where the line was located.
Cleary said both outages were reported as an overload, perhaps caused by Tuesday’s heat and company customers’ increased use of air conditioners. While it’s hard to know, Cleary doesn’t believe the problem will surface again today.
“This may have been an isolated incident,” Cleary said.
A crack, which could have been caused by a number of things, may have existed on the insulator for some time, Cleary said, and the heat may have caused the crack to expand, thereby creating the problem.
The City of Farmington used generators they purchased for $6 million last year to help keep power to parts of the city on Tuesday.
City Administrator Greg Beavers said the generators created six or eight megawatts of electricity Tuesday, a small portion of the 25 megawatts the generators are capable of. Beavers said the generators were used until about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
It takes about 40 megawatts of electricity to power the city, according to Beavers.