Archive for Monday, May 23, 2011

Power restored to thousands of Westar Energy customers north of Sixth Street

May 23, 2011, 11:03 a.m. Updated May 23, 2011, 2:35 p.m.


Four thousand Westar Energy customers lost power in Lawrence Monday morning.

Power has been restored to nearly all customers as of 2:30 p.m., according to the company's website.

The area affected was north of Sixth Street and west of Massachusetts.

Westar Energy representative Nick Bundy said that the outage was likely caused by a bird that flew into a substation in the 1200 block of North 1800 Road.


kansasredlegs 7 years, 1 month ago

Rebellion of all those "Smart Meters" which were recently installed by Sky Net, 'er Westar?

Clovis Sangrail 7 years, 1 month ago

It is getting to be that on any given day, about 10 percent of Westar's Lawrence customers are without power at some point during the day.

Westar -- the cutting edge of third-world power distribution technology.

sourpuss 7 years, 1 month ago

@clovis - With Kansas cutting out the arts, libraries, social assistance, medical assistance and infrastructure maintenance, how is it appreciably different from the third-world? Westar fits right in. /hyperbole

showerqueen 7 years, 1 month ago

I heard there was an explosion at the plant.

wmathews 7 years, 1 month ago

I just spoke with Westar Energy rep Nick Bundy. He said the outage was caused by a bird that flew into a substation on N. 1800 Road.

Whitney Mathews Assistant Community Editor for Online

RJ Bond 7 years, 1 month ago

Hi Whitney. Can you ask Mr Nick Bundy exactly how a bird flies "into" a substation? I'm curious, do they have little doors on those things and one was left open? Or are they not protected whatsoever by an outer steel or metal casing. Can you get a better/more detailed explanation for us? Thanks Whitney.

wmathews 7 years, 1 month ago

Nick is going to post a more in-depth explanation here in a bit.

Nick Bundy 7 years, 1 month ago

Substations are open overhead. We do have equipment in place to protect equipment from wildlife, but because of the layout and design of substations it is not possible to protect against everything. More information about wildlife outages and protection equipment. ->

RJ Bond 7 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the info. Obviously this isn't your call, but with the millions spent in infrastructure in the construction of our electrical grids, power lines, substations, etc - would it be prudent to NOT make the substations "open overhead"? Just a thought, since obviously birds and squirrels seem to easily take them down as they are currently designed.

Nick Bundy 7 years, 1 month ago

Main reason for not having them covered is overhead lines running in and out and then to perform work they often use overhead equipment.

wdl 7 years, 1 month ago

That's Weststar's story. It is actually their approach to energy conservation. I wonder who will get the bird tomorrow. Why do we need smart meters if they are going to shut down different parts of the city each day.

thelonious 7 years, 1 month ago's a different animal's fault every time. Previous outages were supposedly caused by a squirrel and a snake. The last one they just blamed on faulty equipment - not very creative. Now we're back to the animal kingdom - a bird. I think the LJW should have a poll every time there is an outage - "what animal do you think Westar will claim caused the latest power outage in Lawrence - squirrel, snake, bird, raccoon, skunk, or other".

Ralph Gage 7 years, 1 month ago

Let's not forget those mylar balloons!

Sigmund 7 years, 1 month ago

wmathews (Whitney Mathews) replies… "I just spoke with Westar Energy rep Nick Bundy. He said the outage was caused by a bird that flew into a substation on N. 1800 Road."

After being told that my power was out yet again (24 times in 24 months) because of animals and weather I asked the Westar representative if they had birds, squirrels, snakes, and weather where she lived and how often her power was out? When she told me her power had not been out in over two years she got a lot more cooperative and Westar got a lot more proactive.

Most people I know want reliable electric power and couldn't give a toss for Smart Meters!

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 1 month ago

Power was out for 2 1/4 hours. Gets really old !!!

GardenMomma 7 years, 1 month ago

I heard it was a fire. Can a bird flying into the substation cause a fire? Just wondering.

bad_dog 7 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps it was a Pontiac Firebird that "flew" in. Goes in a Pontiac Firebird and comes out a Pontiac Phoenix.

jafs 7 years, 1 month ago

There should be an easy solution to this problem, and Westar should implement it.

Soapbox 7 years, 1 month ago

Westar confirms Bigfoot wandered in to a substation and shorted out the grid trying to get a charge for its Ipod!

wood451 7 years, 1 month ago

All you negitive nabobs are a bunch of spoiled brats. A few hours without electricity? Get over it!

Clovis Sangrail 7 years, 1 month ago

And what, might we ask, is your job at Westar? Corporate communications?

Clovis Sangrail 7 years, 1 month ago

There is technology to keep animals from getting into critical parts of power lines and frying themselves and causing outages. I found this in about a minute of google searching -- -- so its not like Westar would not be aware of a solution to the problem.

Perhaps the J-W would care to find out why these devices are not used here.

My suspicion is that installing something to ensure reliable service is nowhere near as high a priority for Westar as ensuring the CEO's bonus.

deec 7 years, 1 month ago

Maybe customers should start demanding a prorated discount on their bills for the time they are without power. Satellite TV companies will do so, or at least they used to. It would be a very small amount, but if thousands of people started demanding their 43 cents (or whatever amount), maybe the utility would see fit to protect their infrastructure.

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