TXU and Power

Our neighborhood has been suffering from power outages for several years now. It seems to occur whenever it rains hard which has been fairly frequently in the last few months.

Power is never off for long. The longest outage was about 24 hours.

Evidently there is something about rain that causes the circuits to short out. Power is again restored when someone comes to reset the breaker or replace fuses.

Turns out that the main problem is tree branches. Most of the trees in this area are over 30 years old. The last time they were trimmed out was more than 5 years ago.

Recently I received an email forwarded to me detailing some of the emails published by other neighbors. The bottom line on the emails was that tree trimming services were to be available sometime in the fall. We were also cautioned that to prevent disfiguring our mature trees we might want to consider doing the trimming ourselves.

That is what I was doing last Saturday. I was trying to trim some branches of an oak that had grown into the power lines. I figured that cutting the branches at the trunk would allow the rest of the limb to fall to the ground. That did not happen because the offending branch had grown around and entrapped the power line.

An hour after shorting out the line by pulling at the branch, an Oncore bucket truck arrived to take care of the power outage that the short had caused.

The lineman inspected the situation, cleared some additional tree branches from both the sycamore as well as the oak. He inspected the wires below some of the branches from the sycamore and found burn marks on the wires. Signs that the limbs had caused the wires to touch. The limbs were only in proximity of the wires, but they sag when wet and wind could easily whip them into the wires causing shorts.

The lineman also discovered that both of the transformers in our alley were connected in parallel off the same circuit. Not the best situation since two circuits were available. Each transformer should have been running off its own circuit. One of the transformers also appeared to be original equipment. Original to the day it was installed about 30 plus years ago. The lineman submitted an work order to have these situations remedied.

That was last Saturday. Imagine my surprise when a three man crew showed up shortly after nine this morning to replace the old transformer and correct the primary connection. They were done in under an hour.

I consider that proof positive that the power company is not as unresponsive as some of us have thought. They are as much interested in providing reliable power as their customers are in receiving reliable power.

Once the problem was demonstrated, they reacted quickly, positively and effectively.

Additional tree trimming has also been scheduled. This to be done by professional tree trimmers.

This morning I saw a large orange tree trimming truck pulling a chipper rolling down Laguna. I sure hope they don’t get lost.

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