PRESS RELEASE: Power pole fire causes system wide power outage

Posted: January 22, 2019 at 12:00 am

January 22, 2019, Overton, NV – Overton Power District No. 5 customers suffered a major power outage on Monday, January 21, 2019. The outage, which began at 8:00 AM and stretched late into the afternoon, affected all customers of the Overton Power District No. 5 (OPD) in both Moapa Valley and Virgin Valley.

The outage was caused by a fire that started at the top of a wooden power pole near the Reid Gardner substation in Moapa, NV. The power pole affected was part of a high voltage 230 kV transmission line that feeds power from the regional grid directly into the Tortoise substation in Moapa, the main hub of OPD.

OPD officials were notified by NV Energy that a pole on the transmission line had caught on fire. OPD crews were dispatched immediately to locate the problem, patrolling the line starting at the Tortoise substation back to its connection at the Reid Gardner power plant. It wasn’t until they reached the plant that they found the fire had occurred on a pole just inside of the NV Energy fence line. With the issue being on NV Energy property, all that was left for OPD crews to do was wait for the arrival of NV Energy crews to make the repairs.

At 8:00 AM NV Energy de-energized the power line in order to make the necessary repairs knocking out power to the entire OPD system including 15,934 customers in Mesquite, Bunkerville, Moapa, Overton and Logandale, NV.

In the meantime, OPD crews went to work in trying to restore power to critical areas in the communities they serve. Utilizing a small transmission line out of St. George, Utah, they were able to energize certain circuits in Mesquite, restoring power to Mesa View Regional Hospital, Mesquite Police Department, and Mesquite Fire Department station 3. In addition, the district responded to a request to energize the Eagles Landing travel center at I-15 exit 118 to allow interstate travelers a place to purchase fuel as they passed through the area.

NV Energy manpower had to be dispatched from Las Vegas to address the issue. By 2:00 PM, OPD received confirmation from the NV Energy crews that repairs would be completed in approximately two hours. The repairs were completed at 4:15 PM and power began to be restored to the system in stages.

Mendis Cooper, OPD General Manager said “NV Energy has been great to work with, they assembled a good-sized crew on a holiday to come out here and solve this problem. They did a great job and we appreciate their efforts”.

Most customers had their power restored by 5:30 PM, however, a few areas in Mesquite and Bunkerville required additional troubleshooting and repairs. Power was restored to every customer in the OPD system by 9:00 PM.

OPD Public Affairs Specialist Keith Buchhalter said “We would like to remind our customers that we are working hard to keep them updated on the progress we are making to restore electric service in this type of situations through our emergency alert system and social media, to sign up, please call our Customer Service Department at (702) 346-5710 and/or by liking our Facebook Page” .