The Power Log

In Sabah, Malaysia, half-a-million people were affected by a blackout that started with a single line trip but cascaded to three power stations. It sounds like protection system misoperations to me. However, an official investigation will be jointly led by the utility and regional Energy Commission. Regarding the event, some parties in Malaysia are saying that the fragility of the grid, which has suffered other major outages, is a security concern.

A brush fire is the suspected cause of a blackout that hit 2,300 customers in San Bernardino, California.

Brush fire was also the immediate cause of a blackout for 19,000 in Frankston, Australia. However, an extreme heat wave in Australia made the situation much more dangerous.

Back in California, in Riverside, high winds brought down a power line, which ignited a utility pole, and interrupted power to 300 homes.

A power outage in Thoona, Australia was scheduled but still surprised many.

An underground fault blacked out 15 blocks of Lima, Peru.

While the trains were not affected by a power outage in Singapore, the stations were. Without emergency lighting, commuters in those stations were forced to navigate with light from their mobile phones.

A middle-school basketball game was called at the end of the third quarter when the power went out in Carmi, Illinois.

The Power Log

Monkeys caused a nationwide blackout in Zambia on December 30th. Construction workers at the Kariba North Bank Power Station left telephone cables unsecured. Monkeys picked up the loose wire and used it short a transmission circuit. None of the monkeys were killed in the attack.

In Gunnedah, Australia, there was an “unplanned blackout” in the service territory of Essential Energy, who responded by sending crews out to “patrol the network”.

Great Britain is running short of electric generating capacity and a political adviser to the Labour Party said that blackouts would be “the best possible thing” to force the country to deal with the looming problem. I have a feeling that the comment is not the best possible thing for his career.

The failure of a Saskatoon Light & Power tap changer led to a 5-hour blackout in three Saskatoon neighborhoods.

Record low temperatures in South Carolina froze equipment, forced three generating plants offline, and compelled SCE&G to resort to rolling blackouts.

Electric utility workers in Nigeria are threatening to strike because they have not received benefit payments due them as part of a privatization concluded more than 2 months ago.

An island-wide blackout in St. Kitts was due to a fault on one feeder.

A fault on the high-voltage network of Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution interrupted power to 3,300 customers for 2 hours.

The fault in Dorcester, Massachusetts was underground and sparked a manhole fire in addition to turning off the lights for 1,700 customers of NSTAR.

A similar thing happened in Dundee and affected “dozens of buildings”.

Sixty-seven customers of Southern California Edison were without power for a few hours after a vehicle collided with a transformer.

In Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, ice brought down a power line and blacked out 500.

The Power Log

In Bahrain, a fire at a substation blacked out the parliament building, where ministers and MPs were going to meet about energy subsidies. Instead, the Minister of State for Electricity and Water Affairs and senior Electricity and Water Authority executives visited the substation to assess the extent of the damage personally.

Several days after an ice storm, the power remained out for thousands in the Toronto area, ruining Christmas plans and resulting in dangerous conditions for those who couldn’t afford or get to warmer shelter. The same was true for more than 100,000 in Michigan, Vermont, and Maine.

In the UK, more than 50,000 were still without power days after major flooding.

A storm with fierce winds interrupted power to 30,000 customers across Northern Ireland. In Mayobridge, it brought a transmission tower down on two homes. One suffered extensive roof damage; the other caught on fire. Residents of both went to the hospital.

Underground power lines aren’t immune to problems. In Londonderry, Northern Ireland, a drainage contractor dug in to a high-voltage line, knocking out power to 3,000.

In Bondi, Australia, two blackout-inducing underground faults occurred within 12 hours of each other.

Driving only a few blocks from his home, a man in Orange County struck a power pole with his Acura. Both that pole and another fell, leaving 350 local residents without electricity.

Another 1,700 residents in Orange County lost power because of a faulty cable, which also caused a brush fire.

The Power Log

It turns out that the outages in Israel that I reported on last week could have been a lot worse. Demand for electricity was at record highs during the snow storm, threatening further problems, but Israel Electric Corporation was able to turn to private power companies for additional capacity.

Foolhardy thieves stole live-wire distribution cable in Eggborough, England, blacking out three homes. Police are looking for suspects in local hospitals.

In Leighton, someone cut an underground cable. Eight-hundred homes lost power, but more importantly, a McDonald’s had to close for 4 hours!

According to Venezuela’s president, it was a single gunshot that downed a 765 kV transmission line and blacked out more than half the country on December 2nd. According to the political opposition, it was mismanagement by the state power company. Here’s the thing, if the Venezuelan power grid isn’t able to withstand a single-contingency, you could say it was both.

Residents of the village of Kamukunji in Kenya are dealing with a blackout that’s lasted 5 days.

A section of Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan suffered yet another extended blackout. This time is was due to a fault on a main feeder. However, the city has also endured load shedding, low voltage, and billing issues.

Damascus, Syria was without power after an explosion along a gas pipeline cut fuel to the city’s main generating station.

In Desert Hot Springs, California, a traffic accident toppled roadside utility poles and cut power to over 500 customers of Southern California Edison.

When the central business district of New Plymouth, New Zealand lost power just before 3:00 AM, the bars were forced to close early and revelers forced in to the dark streets.

An ice storm hit more than 300,000 customers in Michigan and more in Canada. In Guelph, Ontario families dealt with the loss of electricity by opening up Christmas board game presents early.

The Power Log

Major parts of the capital district in Brunei lost power after lightning hit one 11 kV line and then hit a tree that fell on another line. The government responded by telling people not to plant fruit trees.

A storm in Estonia zapped “4,645 electrical substations”, cutting power to approximately 41,000 homes. That’d be 8.9 homes per substation, which doesn’t sound right.

Cold-weather line failures led to electric interruptions for thousands of Hydro-Quebec customers Friday. Temperatures reached -10 °C.

Also on Friday, a rare but powerful snowstorm hit the Middle-East, dumping as much as 1½ feet in desert spots and a light dusting in Cairo, which hadn’t seen the white stuff in over 100 years. Thousands were without power in Israel and the West Bank.

Though not a result of weather, Friday was not a good day in Zambia either. Undiagnosed transmission-line failures cut supplies from the 900 MW Kafue Gorge Power Station and the 655 MW Kariba North Bank Power Station. As a result, most of the country was without electricity while crews worked to identify the problem.

PowerUp: The Linemen’s Dance

Alison Orr’s Fork Lift Danceworks previously collaborated with firefighters and sanitation workers. In September, the company produced PowerUp, a choreographed performance by more than 50 of Austin Energy’s linemen, technicians, and other personnel. The 90 minute dance included bucket trucks, cranes, manholes, and 20 utility poles.

KLRU’s Arts in Context documented the event: