Due to some Upper St. Clair residents’ concerns about recent power outages, a West Penn Power representative gave a presentation and answered some customers’ questions at the Board of Commissioners Informational & General Affairs meeting on Jan. 27, 2020.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the presentation:
-If you are experiencing a power outage, report it. The information helps the power company determine where and how big the outage is. The West Penn Power phone number is 800-686-0021. View reported outages and their statuses on www.firstenergy.com/outages.
-Trees are the leading cause of power outages. If you see a tree that looks like it may be in danger of falling into a power line, report it to the Upper St. Clair Public Works Department. The Public Works phone number is 412-831-9000, ext. 271.
-There were two large power outages on Dec. 9 and Dec. 13, 2019 in Upper St. Clair. In both instances, the causes were trees down. Also in both cases, the outages caused twice as many customers to experience a power outage than normal because the McLaughlin and Brookside circuits were temporarily tied together at that time to complete an upgrade at the substation.
-West Penn Power has a vegetation management team which follows a five-year trimming cycle. Additional rainfall in the past few years has caused more instances of healthy trees uprooting and falling into power lines.
-West Penn Power is aware of issues at the Bethel Park Substation/Clifton Circuit. This serves the Deerfield Manor area, among others. West Penn Power installed tollgrades on Nov. 23, 3019. An engineer is reviewing the findings. In addition, a drone inspection identified 17 maintenance issues with the Bethel Park Substation/Clifton Circuit. Workers have begun fixing the maintenance issues and will continue to do so this year.
-Underground wires that were installed in the 1960s and 1970s are starting fail due to its age. After they fail two to three times, the power company will replace the affected underground wires.
-It is cost prohibitive to replace overhead power lines with underground lines.
-Squirrels and birds on power lines are common causes for momentary outages/flickering of lights.
See the entire presentation here.