Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

Town-wide power outage set for October 30 to make repairs

 

October 4, 2018



The lights will go out in Pine Bluffs for several hours the night of Tuesday, October 30.

That’s due in part to the town’s electrical infrastructure being in desperate need of repair, town officials say.

Specifically, a substation that the town relies on is outdated and sustained severe damage during the 2016 hailstorm.

Because a substation failure would be catastrophic, repairs are planned for the night of October 30.

“Without these substation upgrades, our system is very vulnerable to a town-wide power outage that we’re not prepared for,” said Pine Bluffs Town Treasurer Kim Patterson. “It would be an emergency and it would potentially result in power being out for extreme periods of time that we really don’t want to have to worry about.”

Pine Bluffs Public Works Director Jerry Lamb said of the three transformers the electricity for the town comes in from were built in 1968 and 1971.

“Those took a real big beating in the hailstorm. It beat all the gauges off and we’re getting some water in the oil,” Lamb said. “It’s time. it could go tomorrow.

Patterson said if everything goes to schedule the outage will last five to six hours. In a worst case scenario, the outage would last eight hours.

“In order to make that happen, they are staging everything ahead of time. They are pre-building any components that can be built ahead of time,” Patterson said.

“We understand it will cause a disruption to everybody who lives in the community,” she added. “But we have to think of the alternative.”

Texas Trail Market General Manager Bill Cushing said he worried that, if something went wrong during the project, food stored in coolers and freezers would go bad.

“I’m just worried. We can’t guarantee anything. I just hope this goes as quickly as possible,” he said. If something went wrong and the outage lasted longer than anticipated, Cushing said the store would be on the hook for thousands of dollars in spoilage.

Cushing said the store has insurance that would partially recoup losses.

A former council member, Cushing said he understands the town’s reasoning for the planned power outage. But, if something were to go wrong, it could ruin the town’s one grocery store.

Council Member Mike Ragsdale suggested finding the store a generator to use in an emergency.

However, Texas Trail Market is by far the largest power consumer in Pine Bluffs, so it would need to be quite large.

The outage is expected to begin at 10 p.m. the night of October 30. it will be a joint effort between High West Energy and the Town of Pine Bluffs Public Works Department.

*****

Council Member Janna Kestner told members that the End of the Trail Kite Festival held Saturday was a success.

Kestner said more than 200 people attended the festival, which is in its second year.

The festival will become an annual occasion that she hopes to see grow.

Kite flyers from Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico were in attendance along with several local vendors.

 

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