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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Smyrna goes black twice after electrical outages

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  • With Town of Smyrna officials still investigating the cause of a five-hour power outage that left Smyrna in the dark on Thursday, residents were once again left without power for about an hour Saturday.
    Smyrna Town Manager Dave Hugg said Monday afternoon that while the first power outage on Thursday was an issue at the town’s substation at the Smyrna Business Park, the second power outage was an issue with the Delaware Municipal Electric Cooperation’s (DEMEC) Beasley power plant, also at the business park.
    Hugg said DEMEC is still trying to figure out what happened Saturday night.
    “For some strange reason it went down like a bang,” Hugg said.
    The power outage Saturday happened around 8 p.m. but only lasted about an hour, unlike the five-hour outage in Smyrna on Thursday.
    The power outage on Thursday occurred at the main feed at the town’s substation. The issue was a result of a malfunctioning control module.
    Hugg compared the problem to that of a computer locking up. The control module in the substation failed, causing the system to lockout at the main feed, which shut down the entire substation.
    “We eventually were able to bypass and take feed from DEMEC to re-energize the transformer and get back in service,” Hugg said Friday via an email.
    The town was still running off of power from the DEMEC power plant Saturday, when the power plant malfunctioned resulting in a loss of power once again for Smyrna residents.
    Currently the town is getting power through Delmarva Power transmission lines that are running through a substation of the Beasley Power Plant to the town’s substation. Hugg equated the exchange of power to running an extension cord from a homeowner’s house to a neighbor’s house.
    Hugg said data has been sent out regarding the malfunctioned control module to figure out what happened Thursday at the substation.
    “We have ordered a brand new module for the substation. We can go back online as soon as it gets here,” Hugg said.
    The control module issue will cost the town at least $10,000 to fix plus any other damage that is found, Hugg said.
    Last week, Mayor Joanne Masten addressed the five-hour electrical outage from Thursday night.
    “The town did all it could to get the power back up as quickly as possible,” Masten said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Masten said the town had been working in conjunction with Councilman John Embert and the Smyrna School District Thursday night to locate a shelter for residents when the power came back on around 9:30 p.m.
    “It was 9:30 and we needed a shelter for people to go until the power was turned back on,” Masten said. “Thank God it turned on soon after that.”
    Smyrna business owner Karen Gill wasn't at her store - Royal Treatments - when the power went out Thursday but her husband, Woody, was. Royal Treatments is located on South Main Street.
    Gill said since the power outage was in the late afternoon, it didn't necessarily affect her business since business hours were almost up.
    "My husband said the power went out and everything was just dead," Gill said. "There were no customers, no traffic lights. The only people out there were business owners who were kind of just walking around."

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