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Thousands lose power in southern part of county

Approximately 3,000 households in southern Farmington and St. Francois County lost power for nearly 20 minutes on Monday due to an equipment malfunction in the River Mines substation.

Farmington electric department superintendent Ron Sheppard said the outage occurred at approximately 10 a.m. Households in the east and south sides of Farmington also experienced blinking of lights for a brief period.

An AmerenUE spokesman said that the outage occurred when the equipment misinterpreted a load shift as being dangerous, and shut down a line.

“We were doing some switching inside the River Mines substation,” AmerenUE’s SEMO superintendent Tom Slinkard said. “When the troubleman opened a particular switch and changed the load from the normal supply, the protective relaying picked it up as a problem and dropped the load.”

In the areas where the electricity only blinked on and off, the Farmington substation equipment noticed the dead line and automatically transferred those customers to another line, Slinkard said.

The longer outage occurred because workers had to disable the relay and fix the problem, he added.

To identify the glitch and prevent it from happening again, Slinkard ordered an investigation into the incident to identify all equipment that was involved and will review dispatch communication during the incident.

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