Today at 11:49 a.m., the system protection at Piqua’s Substation #5, located at the northeast corner of North County Road 25A and I-75, detected an abnormal situation and de-energized the substation transformer, resulting in a power outage to 1,250 customers. Piqua Substation #5 serves the northern and eastern portions of the City, including Piqua High School, industrial customers on Industry Park Drive, and many of the commercial businesses along Looney Road and East Ash Street. Piqua crews responded quickly, identifying the location and cause of the incident at the Looney and Garbry Road Roundabout. A squirrel had chewed through the protective insulation on an underground lightning arrestor which resulted in a line to ground fault. The abnormally high line to ground current triggered the protective relaying at Piqua Substation #5, ultimately de-energizing the substation transformer.
Once the cause was identified, Power System personnel quickly reenergized the substation transformer and were then able to energize 3 of the 4 Substation #5 distribution circuits, restoring service to 437 customers at 12:05 pm just 16 minutes after the start of the disturbance. After crews were able to isolate the impacted area to make repairs, 621 more customers were restored to service at 12:12 pm a short 23 minutes after the initial outage when the final distribution circuit was reenergized. Seven minutes later, an available distribution tie switch was closed and service was restored to 189 more customers, restoring service to all but the remaining 3 customers in the immediate vicinity of the incident. Once final repairs were completed, service was restored to the final 3 customers at 12:43 pm, 54 minutes after the event began.
The Power System has been proactively working to prevent squirrel-related power outages for over 15 years. Attached below is a graph showing the progress over that time period. Piqua Power System has adopted improved construction and maintenance standards with the sole purpose of reducing animal-related outages.