Weekend outage affects residents along Grindstone Parkway

Power was restored to residents Sunday evening at the latest.
Joyu Wang / Graphic Designer

More than 1,400 people in south Columbia lost electricity for a few hours Sunday afternoon after power lines on Grindstone Parkway were damaged, causing a small grass fire.

Columbia Water and Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said the outage was caused by an equipment failure on a transmission line behind the Walmart on Grindstone Parkway at 2:23 p.m. Sunday. Several apartment complexes and houses rented by MU students are located near Grindstone Parkway.

The equipment failure might have been caused by a bird or other animal standing on the line, Kacprowicz said. The lines fell from the pole and sparks set fire to the brush behind the store. Columbia Fire Department Capt. John Metz said Monday that no injuries were reported related to the fire.

Kacprowicz said power was restored for most of the 1,416 customers affected in the outage by about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. About 200 other customers had their power restored by 7:30 p.m Sunday.

“It was a difficult repair, because we had to call people in (on a Sunday) and the terrain behind Walmart made it more difficult,” she said.

Kacprowicz said Columbia Water and Light is working on projects to prevent such outages in the future. She said overhead lines, such as those downed Sunday, can be damaged by storms or animals, so utility companies try to have system redundancies, features that prevent outages by redirecting power to undamaged lines.

Columbia Water and Light is planning to add another substation in near Nifong Boulevard and more transmission lines on the south side of Columbia to act as redundancies, Kacprowicz said.

“Then, they can isolate that specific line and re-reroute the power to other lines while the repairs are happening,” she said.

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