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Posted on: January 8, 2021

Power Update

Power Update-2

POWER UPDATE

The 25 minute outage that occurred this evening beginning around 5:30pm was caused by the faulty relay. We are expecting delivery of this part next week, which will fix the issue. In the meantime, if it goes off again a city employee will be dispatched immediately to fix the issue. We cannot bypass the relay without opening ourselves to danger of a large electrical fire or explosion which could cause severe injury or even death. We do apologize for the inconvenience and assure you that power outages caused by this particular issue will not be lengthy. With a single substation delivering power to the town, we cannot utilize a backup power system to avoid outages (such as the power plant) since the power generated would need to flow through this relay.

Here is a timeline of electric outages and information released, beginning in the early morning hours of October 26th, 2020. 

October 26, 2020:

We’re aware the electric is out and staff is working on the issue now. If you have a specific concern or want to be sure your address is registered, call 785-594-6907 and press *. More information about how city electric works here.

1st UPDATE 1:13am: Please be patient. It does take time to find the problem and analyze the best course of action. Firing up the power plant, if necessary, takes around 45 minutes. We’re still under an hour from first reported outage. 

2nd UPDATE 1:45am: …and it’s back! Good night and good luck with the fans y’all. If your power isn’t on yet, please call 785-594-6907 and press *.

November 26, 2020:

Baldwin City lost power this morning at 2am due to an undervoltage situation on the feed coming into town which caused our main breaker to trip. Electrical department crews were called in to access the problem. On arrival crews found the voltage to be normal and closed the breaker to restore power to the town.  This is the second time that this has happened in the last month. A call ticket was started with dispatchers at Evergy to investagate the cause of this issue.  Please rest assured that we will be following up with Evergy to work with them to find and correct the issue responsible for causing the undervoltage situation. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. -Jeff Winkler, Power Plant Supt.

November 28, 2020:

As most of you know, at around 5:45 this morning, Baldwin City had it’s high voltage breaker trip again. Our crews arrived to find another low voltage event just like early Thursday morning. They were able to restore power immediately. The outage lasted less than 20 minutes.  Evergy dispatchers are not identifying any voltage issues on their system.  I contacted Evergy’s transmission supervisor for our area. He was aware of the situation and is planning on working with Baldwin crews on Monday morning to try to pinpoint the problem.  It is currently unclear whether the issue is originating on Evergy’s system or is a problem with Baldwin’s protective relays.  I will continue to post updates on progress to this Facebook page.  Thank you for your patience and understanding. - Jeff Winkler, Power Plant Supt.

December 6, 2020:

Today’s power blink was caused by a kamikaze squirrel on a pole right outside the power plant door, causing one of the power plant feeders to open and lock out. It also caused the main breaker to open and close a short period later. There were two other squirrel calls over the weekend that caused outages for just the homes on one pole mount transformer.  Squirrels must be taking advantage of the good weather and are out and about. This problem was not related to the issues that we have been having. We are still monitoring and actively investigating that specific issue. - from Jeff Winkler, Power Plant Superintendent

December 19, 2020:

The power outage last night was the same issue that occurred over the Thanksgiving weekend. November 30th we brought in a third party engineering firm to determine exactly what happened and whether the issue was on Evergy’s equipment or the City’s. They were unable to replicate the problem and installed a recording device to monitor the line in case it happened again. The engineering firm is headed out to download information from the recording device today and we’re hopeful to have answers. We’ll update you as more information becomes available.

December 23, 2020:

UPDATE on the intermittent power outage issue:

November 30th, the city brought in an outside engineering firm to help us find the cause of an intermittent recurring outage. Unable to pinpoint the problem, the engineers installed a monitoring device. After the latest outage on Saturday, December 19, the data from the monitor was used to determine the cause, which is a faulty relay on our system. The part has been ordered and will be replaced as soon as possible.

Note that due to the holidays, delays in supply chain due to covid, and nationwide shipping delays this will take some time. Our current timeline for replacement is the second week of January. Thank you for your patience and please know we are working to keep the power on for you and troubleshoot issues as quickly as possible.

January 26, 2021:

The cause of the blinking power and short intermittent outages on 1/25/21 was determined to be a load break switch. The malfunctioning switch has been replaced, as was the substation relay that was causing issues over the holidays.

The electric distribution crew performs regular maintenance and replaces anything that shows signs of wear. However, it would require shutting down the substation (and power to all of town) to check every single part. Note that Baldwin City's substation is over 20 years old, and many of the parts have a service life of 20-30 years.

January 30, 2021:

The wind brought down a tree limb on a power line this evening, causing the northwest feeder reclosure to operate twice. This is why the power blinked twice for those on that feeder. The limb has been cleared.

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