By Alton Mitchell
LaFayette avoided disaster on Friday as the ice, sleet, and snow slammed the area leaving thousands across the state in the dark while sparing LaFayette. However, a failure at one of LaFayette’s power substations left a large majority of the city in the dark on Tuesday morning as residents began their workday.
On Tuesday morning, the entire city of LaFayette lost power with only a small section of the city maintaining power. Rumors began to circulate as residents poured into various streets around the city wondering what had caused the massive outage. One of the most popular theories began to run rampant in the city saying that a squirrel was the culprit behind the outage.
According to Randy Norred, Superintendent of LaFayette’s electric authority the problem was with a substation located near City Hall in LaFayette. The substation is one of two located in the city of LaFayette that supplies electricity to residents of the city. Norred states that there was a failure to the Gain Switch at the substation which resulted in damage to the substation and the subsequent power outage.
Repair crews began arriving on the scene Tuesday morning, but there was a great amount of damage sustained to the power plant which caused the prolonged outages. In an effort to get things back to normal in LaFayette, Norred stated their immediate objective was to switch the power from the damaged substation to the secondary substation. The process was not going to be a quick one and outages were expected to last into the afternoon possibly, with power being restored to the city in phases.
Various departments around LaFayette hit the ground running as what was described as chaos began to grip the city. Phones at LaFayette City Hall were ringing off the hook as residents phoned in problems arising in the city following the outages. Crews from departments ranging from emergency services to streets and sanitation hit the city in abundance trying to maintain a level or normalness during the outage.
According to Norred the outage impacted all of the city of LaFayette, the only area of the city not impacted by the outage was the industrial park located near Highway 50. There is no word yet on how long the repairs to the power substation near City Hall will take.