Downed wire causes hundreds to go without power
by Jonathan Partridge | Patterson Irrigator
Aug 20, 2012 | 1922 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Firefighters respond to a sparking power line at Bartch and Ward avenues after undue stress on the line resuled from high use during the day's hot weather on Saturday, Aug. 18.--Photo courtesy of Patterson Firefighters Association
Firefighters respond to a sparking power line at Bartch and Ward avenues after undue stress on the line resuled from high use during the day's hot weather on Saturday, Aug. 18.--Photo courtesy of Patterson Firefighters Association
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A downed wire south of Patterson caused as many as 500 homes and businesses to lose power Saturday afternoon, Aug. 18, according to Turlock Irrigation District officials estimates.

TID received a report of wires down at Ward and Bartch avenues just after 3 p.m., affecting as many as 500 electric meters, TID spokesman Herb Smart said. It appears that high electricity use as a result of hot weather caused undue stress on the power line, during a day when Pattersonites sizzled under a high temperature of 98 degrees, according to Smart and AccuWeather reports.

Smart said it was rare for a power line to fail under those conditions.

“Usually when lines come down, it’s because vehicles hit them, but in this instance, that wasn’t the case,” he said.

Several TID customers reported receiving their power back between 5 and 6 p.m., according to posts from the Irrigator’s Facebook site, and some others who lost power reported receiving electricity even sooner.

An electrical troubleshooter responded to the incident right away Saturday and put most customers back in power within a short time after arriving on scene, Smart said. However, TID workers did not conduct final repairs on the power line until 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, and some customers reported being without power for far longer than a few minutes.

Readers who posted on the Irrigator’s Facebook site indicated that power was lost in varied parts of the city of Patterson, including the north end of town, portions of the Heartland Ranch development in west Patterson, neighborhoods close to downtown, a large swath of east Patterson and some of the city’s surrounding rural areas.

Despite several weeks of high temperatures this month, Smart said TID has had relatively few power line problems district-wide that are related to hot weather.

“For the most part, we’ve been real lucky when it comes to heat,” Smart said. “The things we concern ourselves most with is wind and rain.”

• Jonathan Partridge can be reached at 892-6187 or jonathan@pattersonirrigator.com.

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