Power outage

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; More than half the city was without power for nearly two hours after a major power line failed down during a routine inspection Tuesday.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, residences and businesses north of U.S. Highway 80 were without power for nearly two hours.

The outage, Alabama Power officials said, was due in part due to complications with a routine line inspection.

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Joseph Brown, Western Division public information representative, said 3,100 Alabama Power customers lost power during the outage, which is approximately two-thirds of the customers in the city. Brown said preliminary investigation of the incident shows the outage was linked to a transmission line failure. Transmission lines are high voltage lines used to connect power in one city to another city.

Diane Brooker, business and office manager for the Demopolis office, said Alabama Power performs annual inspections on these lines by use of a contract helicopter service.

When Tuesday&8217;s outage occurred, a routine helicopter inspection was being conducted near the Hexion Chemical plant.

Although she could not confirm the circumstances, Brooker said company officials believe a transmission line broke and fell onto a distribution line, causing six of nine substations in the city to go out.

No one was injured during the incident, she said.

Brooker said the company would have liked to return everyone back to service sooner, however the circumstances limited their ability to move any quicker.

Three of Demopolis City Schools were affected by the outages, which included much of the city north of U.S. Highway 80, but school officials said the temporary loss of power did little to hinder the school day.

Clarence Jackson, principal at Demopolis Middle School, said in situations such as these they follow a pre-approved plan. In this case, the outage meant going without some of their technology and moving their lunch period up by an hour.

That plan meant students lost little class time &8212; and the already prepared food didn&8217;t go to waste, Jackson said.

U.S. Jones Elementary also moved up its lunch to accommodate the lack of power. Principal Dr. Tony Speegle said the only other adjustment was allowing teachers to use cell phones as an alternate means of communication.