Faulty line clamp triggers weekend power failure
Three power failures on Marion’s Circuit No. 2 during a Saturday night storm began when a transmission line grounded on a rain-soaked pole.
City administrator Roger Holter said clamps that hold lines in place to prevent grounding had to be replaced to solve the problem.
One of three clamps on a power pole north of Washington St., where a wooden bridge connects the county transfer station property to the street, is where the grounding happened, Holter said.
The clamp was old enough to become weak, and one of two lines it held came close enough to a cross arm to ground.
Electricians replaced the failed clamp, restored power, and then manually turned it off two more times to replace two other clamps of similar age.
“They replaced all three while they were out there,” Holter said.
Between replacements, power was switched on so each line could be checked, he said.
The entire circuit, which supplies power downtown and to the north hill, was affected.
When Circuit No. 2 is replaced with higher voltage lines, two circuits will be created — one to serve residential areas and the other to serve the business district.
Although the city’s comprehensive plan calls for any new power lines to be buried, wiring will be mounted on power poles because the city cannot afford to bury the new lines, Holter said. It would cost nearly double the amount to be spent on poles and aerial lines.