POWER OUTAGE - Bird on a wire darkens city, only feathers remain

Friday, August 24, 2007
Photo by Clint Confehr High voltage breakers are in large cabinet-boxes at Lewisburg's Franklin Road substation. A bird landing on the wires caused a power surge prompted by a short circuit and caused a 40-minute power outage for 5,000 people on Monday.

Nearly 5,000 Lewisburg residents were without electric service for about 40 minutes Monday evening because a bird landed on wires and created a short circuit. The power surge prompted the utility's safeguard system to stop the current.

"It was fried to the point that the only way you could tell it was a bird was because it had feathers," Lewisburg Electric System General Manager Richard Turner said Tuesday morning when asked what species of bird made its last landing on wires carrying 13,000 volts.

"It took out probably close to 2,000 meters," Turner said, agreeing with an estimate that 2.5 residents are served by each meter. Wal-Mart, Food Lion and residents in that part of town were affected. Central Park (old Connelly School), the public housing projects and a portion of Lewisburg's public square, including Bingham Engineering were also affected.

Marshall Medical Center is on a different circuit and it has its own power generator.

Story continued in this week's edition of the Tribune.