A Met-Ed power outage Thursday morning affected customers across Lebanon County.
A spokesperson for First Energy, Met-Ed’s parent company, said in an email to LebTown that a total of about 12,500 customers were affected.
“The outage started at about 4:03 a.m. when a copper ground wire on a 69,000-volt transmission line connecting the South Lebanon substation with the North Cornwall substation snapped and came into contact with the energized conductor,” said spokesperson Todd Meyers. “Copper can get brittle and break when it is repeatedly buffeted by windy conditions such as those we’ve been experiencing this year.”
Meyers said that substations have safety mechanisms similar to circuit breakers that ensure expensive, hard-to-replace equipment is preserved when major electrical faults are detected on incoming lines.
According to a First Energy dashboard, outages appeared to have been concentrated in Cleona Borough, North Cornwall Township, and West Lebanon Township, where close to 100% of customers were indicated as experiencing outages at the peak.
Meyers said that Met-Ed is in the process of doing major upgrades at several key substations in the areas of South Lebanon and Middletown which should improve reliability in the future – but unfortunately, at present, the necessary reconfigurations made to the system caused Thursday’s outage to be more widespread than it would be normally.
“An outage that might typically be confined to one or two substations suddenly impacts additional interconnected substations and the lines leaving them,” said Meyers.
Met-Ed crews rerouted power and restored power to about 4,000 customers by 6 a.m., according to Meyers, with the remaining 8,500 customers restored in the following hours, with all customers said to have service restored by 10 a.m. Thursday.
Met-Ed is one of several companies operated by First Energy in Pennsylvania.