Broken bough takes power
A fallen tree branch wiped out electricity to most of Baldwin City on Sunday evening, leaving homes without power up to six hours.
City Administrator Larry Paine said a tree limb fell on top of an electric pole south of the Scout Cabin between Grove and Fremont streets, taking out a 12,470 volt power line and a 2,400 volt power line.
"The branch is bigger than I can wrap my arm around," said Paine. "We couldn't prevent it."
There wasn't a storm, but Paine said the tree appeared to be "diseased." The outage affected all of Baldwin, accept customers on the northwest feed on the west side of town.
"It took about an hour to isolate the problem, and get most of the folks back on," said Paine.
Those living near the downed power lines weren't so lucky. They were without power until midnight, while city crews rebuilt the line from High Street to where the branch fell.
"We had folks in the immediate neighborhood out until midnight," Paine said.
The city also has been plagued with other small problems.
A line fuse blew at Ninth and Grove on Thursday night, causing an hour-long outage to a group of 10-15 homes.
"The lineman had to find the problem," said Terry McKinney, city utility director.
McKinney said the problem was caused by an overload on the line. The same type of outage occurred last Wednesday on the west side of town. That power was out for about 20 minutes.
"When you have an outage during the day when people are here, it's quick to fix," McKinney said. "When it happens at night, it takes longer."
McKinney said overload problems could still occur while the city is converting homes to the new electric distribution system. Crews are working on the east side of town currently, and will begin on the west side of town in the fall.
"Lines are overloaded," he said. "When we get everything converted, we won't have this problem."
With temperatures in the 90s and 100s, usage nears the record high on a daily basis. The city generated power nearly every day last week to keep up.
"We're bumping up against the record every day," McKinney said. "People are using a lot of power. We have been generating 4-5 days a week."