POWER GOES OUT AGAIN

June 06, 2000 11:00 pm

Power went out again Monday morning in Brookings and Gold Beach in the aftermath of a major outage Thursday.

Lauren Porsch, manager of the Brookings district of Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, said Mondays outage was caused by a guy wire anchor that was apparently knocked loose when a tree fell across the main lines Thursday.

He said the guy wire was about two spans away from the site of Thursdays accident. Crews inspected the lines after completing repairs, but did not notice anything wrong with the guy wire or anchor.

Porsch said moist air is more conductive, so Mondays rain could have bridged the gap between the loose guy wire and line No. 1, the main 115,000 volt line to Brookings and Gold Beach.

Harbor receives its power through line No. 2, and was spared Mondays outage.

Porsch said he was awakened at 6:30 a.m. by a popping sound from his television set when the power went out.

It was a heck of a way to get up Monday morning, he said.

Porsch said he could see from his home on Marina Heights that Harbor was on and Brookings was off.

He said he knew right away that something had gone wrong with line No. 1 at the accident site.

He said a distance relay at the Rogue substation in Gold Beach enabled the Bonneville Power Administration to pinpoint the problem and confirm Porschs suspicion.

Porsch said he got dressed and went straight down to the Brookings substation, where he switched Brookings to line No. 2. He said power was restored at 6:44 a.m. to most of Brookings.

Some residents on Cypress Street, however, said the power was off for a half hour. Other Brookings residents said the outage lasted 40-45 minutes.

Porsch said it took about 10 minutes longer to throw the switches at the North Brookings substation and restore power to Cape Ferrelo and Carpenterville Road. He said power at Gold Beach was out a little longer.

He said crews went to the outage site immediately, but found no lines down.

Porsch said crews again inspected line No. 1, but could find nothing wrong except for the loose guy wire. He said the system would be checked again when the weather clears.

He said of Thursdays accident, We experienced such trauma to our poles and insulators, its a wonder the system has done as well as it has.

People take everything for granted, he said, Then reality knocks on the door.

Porsch said he has never been a sky-is-falling type of person, but that he stocks water, batteries, flashlights and other emergency supplies at his home.

He said while he doesnt lack faith in his power system, he believes in Murphys Law: if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.

Porsch said the Coos-Curry purchasing agent questioned the amount of money he was spending to have 12 spare insulators on hand.

Porsch said when the tree fell Thursday, it took all of those, plus two borrowed from Gold Beach, to repair the system.

He said after Thursdays outage, the co-op had meetings to discuss its strengths and shortcomings during the emergency.

He said they learned that a cell-phone would have helped one employee respond better. New tires would have helped one of the pickups reach the site easier. Crews also could have used more rope.

Porsch said that knowledge will make them more prepared next time.

You learn from your mistakes and, sooner or later, you wont have any mistakes, he said.