A number of Benton Utilities customers experienced brief outages Tuesday due to the storms across the city, but all services have now been restored.
“We had folks lose temporary power yesterday,” said BU employee Mollie Wright. “We had an outage due to the fact we had a tree fall across two primary lines.”
Wright added that one of the branches also caught on fire near a primary line.
“In order to keep all the primaries from burning down, we had to temporarily drop some of our people that had power,” Wright said. “We had to temporarily turn it off and it was off about 10 minutes while they removed that tree from those lines.”
In a social media post on Tuesday, BU reported that there were several outages across the city. Due to phones being overwhelmed with reports, customers were encouraged to reach out through Facebook. BU also said that they had already dispatched crews to restore services as soon as possible.
BU also posted information informing customers of how they resolve issues like trees that have fallen on power lines which is what occurred during Tuesday’s storm.
“In electric power systems, lightning strikes, surges, or foreign objects (trees) coming into contact with the exposed distribution lines often lead to abnormal conditions known as ‘faults’,” the post said.
“When these conditions occur, pieces of equipment, known as reclosers, are designed to detect and interrupt momentary faults. Think of reclosers as large circuit breakers similar to the smaller ones in our homes. This type of equipment is directly linked to the reliability of our electricity supply.”
BU stated that the majority of outages can be resolved by a simple close operation. Under normal operating conditions, reclosers are set in what is referred to as “three-shot” mode. This means that the recloser will make three attempts to clear the fault. If unsuccessful, the circuit will remain open and power will be out.
“So, the next time we lose power, pause momentarily (minute or two) to see if it comes back on,” BU said. “This will be the first attempt or “shot” to re-energize the circuit. If power is restored, and stays on, you’ll know the fault has been cleared. If not, the power will go out again. Wait another couple of minutes, the recloser will try again. If unsuccessful after three attempts, power will go out, and stay out.”
BU encouraged customers to call the outage line at 501-776-5930 if power remains off after several minutes.
“Your calls are extremely important to us and help us to pinpoint the affected areas of our city,” BU said. “The more calls, the better, however, our call center is often overwhelmed with the first rush of calls. Keep trying and thanks for your patience. Remember, three ‘shots’ and we’re ‘out’ to restore power to our customers. Always keep a flashlight with fresh/charged batteries for these instances and stay safe.”