That’s one hell of a mistake

Koga’s post about this is halfway down the page by now but according to the LA Times “a spokesman for the county Office of Emergency Management, said the massive power failure was caused after an employee “inadvertenly cut a power cable” at a DWP substation in West Los Angeles.” Well, let me be the first to say (unless someone blogged it earlier and I missed it) that it’s very relieving to know there’s one cable that supplies power to the whole damn city… wait, I mean… no it’s not.

Aparently LAPD went into “full tactical alert” because of this and there are reports of “slowed traffic” all over town – no shit. Wikipedia has an article on this already as well.

2 Replies to “That’s one hell of a mistake”

  1. It’s not “cutting the cable” in the way you might be thinking. It’s not like some dude grabs a pair of sidecutters and snips into a big fat cable labeled “Los Angeles Power” that comes in through the wall.

    There was apparently some cable upgrading being done in the Valley, and during a cutting/splicing operation (which is more complex than the above sarcasm) power was redirected into the wrong outgoing system/line. This was a high-voltage situation, so sending the wrong voltage/amperage down a line that’s not designed or readied to handle additional load starts a series of breaker-like shut-downs. In this case just like when you overload your home circuit with too much voltage, a breaker will cut the electrical flow to prevent damage. All the substations along the line apparently did the same thing. When you take a substation offline, it’s not a matter of just flipping the breaker to turn it back on. It takes a while, thus the amount of time to restore power to most affected areas.

    Still, it would be a tough spot to be in right now if you are one of the crew who was responsible for the incorrect splice. Some procedures must have been botched.

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