Crews repair damaged utility lines
PENN YAN--Numerous residents in the Penn Yan area were left in the dark Wednesday evening, Jan. 4. Municipal electric employees worked to fix power lines that were impacted by downed tree limbs caused by heavy gusts of wind.
"This is the worst case we have seen since the fall of 2014," said Director of Public Works Brent Bodine. "The weather man was correct in his prediction earlier that day. The impetus of all three instances was fallen tree branches resulting in local neighbors and community members being without power."
The first power outage call came in at lunchtime for fallen tree branches on electric lines near Indian Pines park.
As municipal workers worked to isolate the line power and to clear the debris, another call came in from the area of Widow Hill off of Route 364. The wires were strong enough to hold the fallen branches, and village workers were able to divert resources to isolate the problem.
Just after 3 p.m. in front of Keuka Appraisal on Main Street, a strong gust of wind brought tree branches down onto the wires located at the corner of Clinton and Main Streets in Penn Yan. As crews began heading to the scene, a tractor-trailer departing north on Main Street snagged the downed lines, bringing the whole top of the electric pole down.
Bodine stated the first course of action was to ensure everyone was safe and no property was in jeopardy.
Inter-municipal assistance from Watkins Glen Municipal Electric, Bath Gas and Electric and Fairport Electric was called in.
NYSEG customers were not impacted by the gusts of wind or downed lines. As residents walked down Main Street during the evening, street lamps were out, but many local businesses were able to continue operation. NYSEG provides power for municipal distribution at two access points in the village.
"This increases the odds of maintaining all village power if one access point is down," said Bodine. "Isolating the problem is what took the most time."
An entire circuit was impacted by the fallen pole, and power was out within the areas of Clinton, Stark, Florence, Walnut, Main, Chapel and Court Streets.
Power was back on during the night at approximately 12:30 a.m.
There are 10 municipal electric circuits, and crews worked for the first five hours just to isolate the inner section. For the remaining five hours, crews worked to remove the downed tree and the broken pole, unhooking the wires, and to get the new circuits configured. The last two circuits required the crews to set and establish the new pole prior to residents being able to receive power again.
Many local businesses in downtown were still able to maintain their operations, though the streets were darker than usual in the early evening. Local residents felt the impact of the power and internet outage.
Empire Access, a local internet provider, was impacted minimally by the wind gusts and did not have any major outages, according to Director of Marketing Bob Vandelinder.
"A few individual drops went down that feed individual residents, but only a few residents were impacted [and] the winds did not cause any major area outages," said Vandelinder.
One of the lines was affected in the downtown area, and construction technicians were deployed on the scene immediately, following protocol to repair the lines appropriately.
Residents are encouraged to maintain trees that are in the vicinity of local power lines. According to the NYSEG website, residents are advised not to attempt to remove trees or debris from power lines, and cutting and pruning of trees near power lines should be done professionally.
Residents are also advised to consider the growth of a tree when selecting a variety and location, to prevent similar scenarios that could impact local residents and neighbors.