Line fluctuations are to blame in recent outages

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By Special to the Monitor

Officials at the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities announced that the third of three momentary blackouts occurred across Los Alamos County was due to fluctuations on the RL 115kV transmission line which brings power to the county.

Electric Distribution Project Engineer Steve Marez said that all fluctuations and momentary outages influence the performance of the town site electric distribution system. Marez said older direct-bury conductors (circuit 16) on North Mesa failed on Sunday and Thursday, simultaneous with two of the transmission fluctuations from the RL line.

“Los Alamos National Lab contractor KSL has been performing maintenance on the 115 kV Norton transmission line, leaving the RL line as our single power supply transmission line. The root cause of the RL line’s fluctuations (9:45 a.m. Friday, 12:30 p.m. Thursday, and at 4:07 p.m. Aug. 3) is still being investigated by KSL,” said Deputy Utilities Manager Steve Cummins.

“Fluctuations on the main power supply line stressed the White Rock and town site aging distribution system, especially in North Mesa. Without both lines running, we lose the alternative transmission pathway that enables power interruptions to be mitigated.”

A press release from LANL said the Aug. 3 power outage was caused by a lightning strike.

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