Power outages plague downtown

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 6, 2011

NATCHEZ — Heavy air-conditioning traffic and two pole collisions left some residences near downtown without power last week and early this week.

Entergy Customer Service Manager Tim Runnels said power outages at 641 residences in or near the downtown area last week were mostly caused by an overloaded Entergy substation on Government Fleet Road.

“(The outages occurred) due to the summer load exceeding the rating at the substation, so it tripped out,” Runnels said.

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Runnels said Entergy officials originally attributed last week’s outages to a damaged pole on State Street. He said the damage to the pole’s structure was unlikely to have been caused by a car, but perhaps by equipment such as a lawn mower.

Runnels said further investigation revealed the outage last week occurred from overloading because more power than usual was being used, most likely for cranked up air-conditioning units.

Last Thursday and Friday Entergy employees adjusted settings at the substation to allow it to distribute more power to downtown residences and businesses.

Some customers who lost power were also transferred to a different circuit at the substation Thursday and Friday to help balance the overloaded circuit, Runnels said.

He said electricity is more prone to outages during peak seasons, when temperatures are most extreme

“Peaks come out in the summer with the 100-plus (degree) days when (residents) have the A/C on full blast,” Runnels said.

Runnels said the damaged pole on State Street probably contributed to some of last week’s outages, but the overloaded circuits were responsible for most.

A more recent round of outages occurred Monday and Tuesday after a woman, who was later arrested for driving under the influence, reportedly ran a Mitsubishi Gallant into a pole.

The accident occurred at 7:06 p.m. Monday on the 100 block of St. Catherine Street, across from Simmons Steam Cleaners and Laundry, Runnels said.

Runnels said Monday’s accident damaged electricity meter bases at one or more houses when the woman allegedly hit the pole with her car.

Natchez Police Department later charged Shasta D. McDonald, 34, 1218 Plum St., Vidalia, with DUI — second offense, suspended driver’s license, no insurance and resisting arrest.

Runnels said most residences affected by the damaged pole on St. Catherine Street had power back on either Monday or Tuesday.