Archive for Friday, June 10, 2011

Power returns to more than 5,000 Westar customers affected by Friday afternoon outage

Jeff McKee, Westar's director of operations in Lawrence, talks about the switch failure at the Sixth Street substation that caused more than 5,000 Westar customers to lose power at about 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.

June 10, 2011, 2:59 p.m. Updated June 10, 2011, 6:00 p.m.


Power failures in Old West Lawrence Friday afternoon affected thousands of residents and several businesses while and knocking out several traffic signals.

Westar Energy reported 5,228 customers were without power at the height of the outage, which lasted more than two hours Friday. The affected zone included areas west of Massachusetts Street, south to 15th Street and north of Sixth Street. Power was restored around 5 p.m.

According to a Westar official at the substation at Sixth and Kentucky streets, a switch failed at that substation about 2:30 p.m. The problem was not related to work that Westar recently undertook at the station, in hopes of halting failures that had been occurring in Downtown Lawrence, the official said.

Several traffic signals along Sixth and Ninth streets were reported to be out during the power failure.

“It completely shut us down,” said Ivan Albers, manager of the Papa John’s Pizza, 918 Miss. “The only thing on in this store was the emergency lights.”

Some businesses were able to remain open despite the loss of electricity.

“We had our phone calculators out,” said Brendan Dowdle, general manager of the Cork & Barrel, 901 Miss. Employees went around with customers and consulted posted prices, and checked customers out without the aid of electric cash registers.

“It’s frustrating, but we’ve had it happen multiple times before, so we know what to do,” Dowdle said.

The Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt., was closed during the outage, and the Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky., closed for the day.

Without power, the pumps and filtration systems cannot operate to keep the water at the appropriate chemical balance, Jimmy Gibbs, aquatic manager, said in a press release. The Outdoor Aquatic Center is scheduled to reopen on its regular schedule Saturday.


onceinawhile 6 years, 11 months ago

How is it acceptable that this seems to happen constantly?

Clovis Sangrail 6 years, 11 months ago

Westar -- The cutting edge of third-world power power grid technology -- Bringing you power for most of the day.

ashmole 6 years, 11 months ago

Only when you move out of Lawrence do you realize that the power tends to stay on regularly in other American cities. Too much Westar money went into David Wittig's pocket and not enough into maintaining the distribution network.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

A prolific poster on this award-winning website has stated that power outages are a good way to enforce energy conservation.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 11 months ago

Did he/she post it or copy and paste it? (Or would that give it away?)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Jeez, you're a wart on his butt even when he hasn't posted anything.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

Your obsessive concern with his butt is noted.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 11 months ago

All of bozo's obsessing with old man butt has ruined my appetite right at dinner time.

Dan Edwards 6 years, 11 months ago

FYI Downtown Post office is closed as well, with a sign up saying to go to the one on 31st Street. Just a heads-up in case anyone was planning to head over there this afternoon.

pizzapete 6 years, 11 months ago

Thanks, that's good to know. How about the Library?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Power blinked off momentarily in E. Lawrence. But that happens at least a couple of times a month, in addition to full power outages.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

You're probably right, but so far, I've been lucky that nothing seems to have been affected by irregular voltage.

conservative 6 years, 11 months ago

Newsflash! When power is out to traffic lights the intersection becomes a four way stop intersection. Everyone must stop. I can't begin to tell you how many people i saw who couldn't grasp this concept and barrelled through intersections

Steve Jacob 6 years, 11 months ago

Ditto, picked up my daughter at Library, went down Tenn. and most knew what to do. But lights on Vermont where fine.

conservative 6 years, 11 months ago

Why did the library close? 18 million and they don't have backup power to check out books? I wonder how many parents dropped their kids off there earlier and will now return to find their kids were forced to leave. I remember they shut down for a snow day this last winter on a day the schools were open too. I wonder who is making these decisions about closing a public building during normal hours.

MattressMan 6 years, 11 months ago

"18 million and they don't have backup power to check out books?"

Last I looked at the library they havent started with the 18 million project yet so why would you expect them to have back up with money that hasnt been spent yet?

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 11 months ago

I'd expect the current library to have back up power, but that's just me. I want the homeless to have a comfortable place to view porn in the summer.

sr80 6 years, 11 months ago

thats right!!! how will i ever survive with out more weiner shots ??

amrose42683 6 years, 11 months ago

So I really don't feel like paying my electric bill that is due this weekend. My house does not have power, I have a small child and am 8 1/2 months pregnant ... and will be without air conditioning. Yeah, yeah, I know I could go somewhere else that has air conditioning but point being is that I shouldn't have to. This is ridiculous ... my power flashes almost on a daily basis too. Remind me what I'm paying for .........

MattressMan 6 years, 11 months ago

Why would you not want to pay your bill when it is for a product that you have already used?

"Remind me what I'm paying for ........."

Exactly what you are using when the power is out, nothing!

del888 6 years, 11 months ago

If you don't have power, how are you using your computer to type your post?

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 11 months ago

A question I wish this story answered- how long will it take to fix it?

Casey Miles 6 years, 11 months ago

A Westar official said that work crews hope to have the problem fixed by 5 p.m. today.

Casey Miles Web producer

MarcoPogo 6 years, 11 months ago

According to the story, they're hoping to fix it by 5:00.

And as for the library, if there's no power, you can't play "World of Warcraft" so it's probably best to close.

tir 6 years, 11 months ago

This is shameful and unacceptable. Westar needs to inspect and overhaul the entire 6th & KY substation. There have been way too many outages happening because of equipment failure there.

todo 6 years, 11 months ago

Will they raise the energy cost to pay for the repairs? And can we get a discount on the time and food lost?

auntmimi210 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes, I'd also like reimbursement for the 3 hours lost work time. Ha ha.

Louis White 6 years, 11 months ago

That switch must have blown a transformer or two when it went. There was an hellacious boom a little ways west of 5Th & California when the lights went out.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

Blame Core-less...always blame Core-less.

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

I guess this is the precursor that Westar will be increasing our electric rates? Bwahahahaha! suckers

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

New Journal World Poll: What will be Westar's excuse for the next power outage?

[ ] Snakes [ ] Squirrels [ ] Untrimmed trees [ ] Some other lame excuse

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

LJWorlds 100 Customer Outage Contest

It's summer in Lawrence, which means it's only a matter of time before the next Westar power outage that effects over 100 customers!

Instead of complaining about the lack of cheap and reliable electric power, we thought we'd make a game out of it, so is holding a 100 Customer Outage Contest sponsored by [Local Advertiser Name Here]. If you guess the day and time that Lawrence power outage that impacts 100 Westar customers this year, you'll win a summer prize pack that includes....

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

"Only when you move out of Lawrence do you realize that the power tends to stay on regularly in other American cities. Too much Westar money went into David Wittig's pocket and not enough into maintaining the distribution network. "

Hear hear

Lawrence consumers last!!!!

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 11 months ago

I thought you approved of power outages as a way to save energy. Hypocrite. Next thing you know, we'll find out you use combustion powered mowers in your lawn mowing business despite your constant harping about "green" technology. Oh wait.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 11 months ago

This is the precursor to what this country has to look forward to. The 10% with money will live in gated communities with private fire and police services and their own generators while the other 90% of us deal with a crumbling infrastructure. Their kids will go to private schools and if they have to leave and come out in "the world" for any reason their SUVs will handle the potholes without problems. If you think that's silly and stupid then consider this:

Scott Morgan 6 years, 11 months ago

Soviet dormitory style living too for the masses. Turn North and South Dakota into Section 8 housing. heheheheh.

BTW cait48 I drive an SUV which knocks out 32 mpg.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 11 months ago

Doesn't matter what MPG it gets just so it can handle the potholes.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 11 months ago

Yep. Suck on it, proles. Don't forget, we have all the guns too.

Franklin 6 years, 11 months ago

It seems to me the moral of the story is to prepare and not be dependent on one company for survival. Survival of your business, comfort or LIFE. Having a contingency plan such as stored water, food, wood, gas, clothes, and a generator if able can eliminate a lot of the concerns when a utility is lost.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 11 months ago

There are problems with that. I had a month's supply of insulin in the refrigerator. It has to stay refrigerated and, had the power not come back on, I would have lost well over 200$ worth of Lantus. I live in an apartment, thus no generator. I would like to know what you suggest to stockpile it. And by the way, had I lost that supply due to power outage I can guarantee Westar would not reimburse me or replace it.

Franklin 6 years, 11 months ago

I am sorry to hear you almost lost your Lantus. You bring up a good point. Life sustaining medicines are tough to stockpile. Most times doctors will only prescribe small supplies at a time or the shelf life of the medicine is short. It is my understanding that Lantus only has a shelf life of about 30 days, correct me if I am wrong. With that being said, being in your position, preparing for any system failure may be more important than most. Dry ice, batterie powered cooling devices or with no medicine, diet changes. I'm not trying to sound smug, i just try the best I can to prepare. You know the whole not keeping your eggs in one basket thing.

Cassie Powell 6 years, 11 months ago

cait48... My brother has an ice chest that plugs into his vehicles battery outlet/cigarette lighter. He uses this during power outages for his insulin. Might be an option for you. He lives in Arizona and they suffer through power outages there too.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 11 months ago

Coleman makes the cooler and is an incredible money saver for trips. An iceless cooler which keeps things from getting soggy. At least for us makes it much more likely to nibble on fruit and leftovers. Much lighter to haul around too.

When traveling just take it into the room with us, plug in. Our model is pretty good size.

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 11 months ago

It's funny that in a town that has its own electric hydroelectric power plant, half the city could get knocked out by a downed power line (or whatever the issue was). I had to drive to work this afternoon in the middle of all the dead traffic signals. This should never happen in Lawrence.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 11 months ago

....abounds in Joplin. But we do not know if it is mucormycosis, phycomycosis, or basidiobolomycosis.

Soapbox 6 years, 11 months ago

We are a third world city............embrace the madness!!!!

John Hamm 6 years, 11 months ago

"and several businesses" maybe the LJW should send a reporter out to scout the power outage affected area - there's one heck of a lot more than "several" businesses that are affected every time this happens and it appears to be happening much more frequently. Once a year was unacceptable. It's been twice this year already!

geekin_topekan 6 years, 11 months ago

Power czars are giving you a little taste of what life would be like without them. Give. Give freely. Know the consequences of not giving.

Now let us pray.

kernal 6 years, 11 months ago

G'Morning, Casey. Question - why is it that the spam blogs don't get removed?

Dixie Jones 6 years, 11 months ago

HOW dare westar let the power fail, shame on them for allowing you to NOT enjoy the luxury of power for a few hours, yes i can see the issue wiith the street lights because there are so many idiots who do not know how to do anything with out direction...Sorry folks power is going to fail , its nature and yes there are reasons that it does fail , birds , rodents, accidents. i would think that you would thank these men and women who get out there and work HARD long hours in the pouring rain , the blowing snow ,dangerous ice and unreal temps in the summer months , climbing poles to just play around with 72K volts of electricity. but in turn you lash out at them beacuse you had to be without power for a few hrs... lets see ONE of you arm chair linemen get out there and do what they do, lets see one of you be the wife or husband of the lineman that goes out on a call in the middle of the night and lay awake and worry if they are going to come home, or When they are going to come home.. these people sometimes put in 12 or more hrs restoring power to you when there is a bad storm cutting trees , pulling wire putting new poles in.... but see they do this cause they have nothing better to do that to make your lives uncomfortable.... next time you see a lineman think about it , and maybe you will rethink where your POWER comes from....there are many dangerous jobs out there that people take for granted.. maybe today you can think of the others that you judge on a daily basis and quit being the CEO of the arm chair...

tir 6 years, 11 months ago

I have a lot of respect for the linemen and women who have to go out in bad weather, at great risk to their own safety, to turn the lights back on. But this outage, and the two other recent outages that occurred at this substation, were not the result of weather conditions (or birds or animals). They were caused by the failure of old and/or badly maintained equipment. Power failures happening over and over again at the same substation suggests that Westar needs to do some serious overhauling at that location.

thelonious 6 years, 11 months ago

At least they didn't blame some animal or a bird this time...guess that excuse "won't fly" anymore. :-)

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