Faulty component blamed in weekend blackout

Monday, August 23, 2004

A faulty lightning arrester at Marshall Municipal Utilities' Miami Substation is being blamed for the power outage that darkened the city Sunday.

Paul Jensen, MMU general manager, said the arrester failed at about 1:45 p.m.

While as much as a third of the city was without power, quick action by MMU's power plant operators prevented the outage from being even more widespread. Jensen said the blackout primarily affected areas on the east and south sides of town served from the Southeast Substation, but an area in the central part of Marshall served from the North Street Substation was also without electricity. Service to both areas was restored after about an hour.

This isn't the first time the Miami Substation has had problems with lightning arresters. In fact, Jensen said, this is the third to fail. The first two failed arresters were inspected a few weeks ago by the manufacturer, who determined there was a manufacturing defect, he said.

The manufacturer also provided six new arresters to replace the six at the Miami Substation. At the time of Sunday's blackout, three had already been replaced.

The remaining three arresters, including the one of which failed on Sunday, were scheduled to be replaced this Wednesday.

Jensen said the arresters in MMU's other substations are from a different manufacturer.

Contact Chris Post at


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