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Workers disconnect Provo's power supply by mistake

Workers disconnect Provo's power supply by mistake



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PROVO -- Things are getting back to normal in the south side of Provo after a power outage caused major headaches Tuesday afternoon.

Traffic lights stopped working, and the city's phone system was shut off. The outage happened as technicians were doing maintenance at the Tanner Substation.

"While they were doing maintenance, they caused the 138 KV breakers to open at the Tanner Substation," explained Tad Smallcomb, operations manager for Provo Power Systems.

In layman's terms, they hit one wrong button and cut off half of the power they receive over Rocky Mountain Power lines.

Smallcomb said a technician tripped a lockout relay, which cuts off power so maintenance crews aren't killed by the electricity and the equipment doesn't get fried.

"If you damage that type of equipment, then you're going to have a much longer power outage than an hour," he said.

According to Smallcomb, this was a freak accident that will likely never happen again. But he said they'll keep an extra close eye out to ensure that it doesn't.

The mistake was repaired by 3 p.m.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

Paul Nelson

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