Power Outages Caused by Storm Will Lead to Better Planning in Nevada

September 26, 2014

By Ed Silverstein - Power Protection Contributor

Heavy rain connected with Hurricane Norbert led to an eight-hour power outage in parts of Nevada earlier this month. Among those impacted by the tropical storm were all 14,835 customers supplied by the Overton Power District (OPD).

What made it especially difficult for the utility was when the company lost its OPD communications switch, and floodwaters also made it hard for workers to reach a major 240 kV line.

And by losing the switch, “we lost our remote control so we were dispatching crews to the different substations to take care of the switching for us,” John Jensen, manager of operations and engineering, told the power district board’s recent meeting, according to a report from The Spectrum.

When faced with the dilemma, OPD tried to get power restored to Mesa View Regional Hospital first. “Our main goal was to get the hospital energized and any emergency units that needed power like the police department, the fire department, that sort of thing,” Jensen explained at the board meeting.

Looking back at the outage, the utility learned some lessons about its operations and some remedies are forthcoming.

Mendes Cooper, OPD general manager, told the board, “We haven’t had an outage for this long for a while and when our server and things ran out of battery power we remedied those problems or found how we can solve them.

“We’ll be bringing those ideas back to you (the board) and asking for some funding to take the steps to keep things running,” he added.

The experience in Nevada is a reminder, too, of how important it is for all organizations to plan for power disruptions. One useful option is to consider products from Minuteman Power Technologies. For instance, the company’s Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) products provide protection in case of power problems. The company offers Battery Backup (UPS) systems, surge protectors, power management products, and power monitoring accessories and software. Using these products, data can be saved so business will find it easier to operate in difficult conditions.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson