Squirrel kills power for thousands in area

Squirrel kills power for thousands in area
About half of Union City Electric System’s customers and about 2,000 Gibson Electric Membership Corporation members lost power Tuesday morning when a squirrel caused the large transformer bank on Reelfoot Avenue to go out at 9:36 a.m.
Affected Gibson Electric Membership Corporation members were in Union City, Woodland Mills, Hop-In, Midway and South Fulton.
“Using our computer system, we were able to back feed the system and get about half of the customers back on within two minutes of the outage,” said Brad Zill, UCES project engineer. “We had the remaining customers back on within 16 minutes.”
Final repairs from the outage were made at about 11 a.m. on the transformer bank. Union City Electric System allowed Gibson Electric’s customers, who were also out from the blackout, to connect to the local system while final repairs were made.
“We know any outage to our customers causes an inconvenience at least and we try to minimize the length of any outages,” Zill said.
Jerry Bailey, manager of the Union City system, praised the employees for their quick thinking and fast response. “Our employees acted quickly and minimized the outage time to our customers”, he said. “I don’t think any system could have restored service any faster.”
He commented that while some employees were working to back feed the customers, others were getting material and setting up bucket trucks to make the needed repairs. 
He said he regretted the outage and the inconvenience caused to their customers. 
Rita Alexander, vice president of Human Resources and Communications for Gibson Electric, also apologized to its customers for any inconvenience it may have caused.
Published in The Messenger 9.19.12

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