On August 21, 2014 residents in Ozark, Nixa, and Sparta realized just how lucky they were to have air conditioning when an electrical substation caught fire behind Godfather’s Pizza in Ozark.
“OZARK, Mo. – Work is underway to repair a damaged Empire District Electric substation affecting over 4,500 customers in the Ozark and Sparta areas.
According to Empire District Electric, personnel are working to bring in a replacement for a damaged substation transformer.
They say impacted customers should prepare for an extended outage that may last through most of the night as crews work to make repairs.”- KY3
The problem…the substation became overloaded. More people had been using their A/C units while running them at cooler temperatures than normal in order to keep the heat out
What is a substation?
An electrical substation is a subsidiary station of an electricity generation, transmission and distribution system where voltage is transformed from high to low or the reverse using transformers. Electric power may flow through several substations between generating plant and consumer, and may be changed in voltage in several steps.
A substation that has a step-up transformer increases the voltage while decreasing the current, while a step-down transformer decreases the voltage while increasing the current for domestic and commercial distribution. The word substation comes from the days before the distribution system became a grid.
Substations generally have switching, protection and control equipment, and one or more transformers. In a large substation, circuit breakers are used to interrupt any short-circuits or overload currents that may occur on the network. Smaller distribution stations may use recloser circuit breakers or fuses for protection of distribution circuits.
Substations do not usually have generators, although a power plant may have a substation nearby. (As in the case in Ozark)
What to do in a power outage:
The first thing you should do is to determine whether you are the only one without power. If you know where your fuse box is, check for tripped switches or blown fuses. If that is the problem, reset the breaker or replace the fuse. If the problem is more widespread, call your local electricity company
If there are downed power lines in your neighborhood, do not go near them. Call 9-1-1 first to report the emergency. Then call your electricity company. Check to make sure that no children or animals go near the wires. Here are other useful tips on what to do in a power outage:
- Drink plenty of water. You will perspire and lose water, so stay hydrated.
- Dress to stay cool – wear layers that can be removed if you get hot.
- Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food inside should stay cold for hours if the door is left closed.
- If you’re hot, take a cool shower to reduce your body temperature.
- If you have a pool, it’s a good time to take a dip. The water will bring your body temperature down and help you to stay cool.
- Check on elderly neighbors or those who may have medical conditions or use medical machinery that operates on electricity. Make sure they are dressed appropriately and are staying cool.
- Drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out. Consider each intersection to be a four-way stop and drive defensively.