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Thursday, July 27, 2000

Growing Vines Short Out Electric System in City Wednesday

By BOB WATSON News Tribune

AmerenUE and other electric providers occasionally have power outages caused by curious animals getting too close to switches or circuit breakers.

But, vines?

About 5,200 AmerenUE customers in Jefferson City lost power Wednesday afternoon for anywhere from a few seconds to 36 minutes, said Mike Cleary, AmerenUE's spokesman in Jefferson City.

"It was caused by vines shorting out a circuit breaker at our Zion substation on Southridge Drive," he said. The outage affected various parts of town, largely in the southwest.

Cleary said the outage started at 2:06, and everybody was back on line at 2:40.

Some computers were unaffected, while others blinked and some shut down completely.

Some buildings were without power for more than a half hour, while others didn't even notice an interruption.

When the first circuit breaker tripped, the system tried to shift power into the affected area from another substation, causing it to blink as well, Cleary said.

"That's why so many people were affected, one way or another," he explained.

Cleary said Wednesday's outage was a freak occurrence, since the company works hard to keep plants out of its transmission lines and other electric equipment.

"We actually just trimmed those vines just six weeks ago, so apparently the conditions were just right to have a lot of growth during that period," he said.

-- (, July 27, 2000


They just trimmed those vines only six weeks ago, and they are now responsible for a power outage, they say. This one is hard to swallow. It sounds more like a typical PR flak cover story. Vines just don't grow back that fast.

-- Wayward (, July 27, 2000.

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