During the early morning hours on Thursday, thousands of residents throughout Warren County and the city of McMinnville lost their electricity due to a lightning strike. At 6 a.m. while most people were waking up and getting ready for work, one-third of McMinnville citizens lost power after a lightning strike destroyed a switch on the powerline equipment at the TVA substation behind Oster. Due to the damage at the substation, McMinnville Electric System was unable to receive the electricity needed to send to 3,114 customers. The problem took between 55 minutes to an hour to correct in the city limits.
“When the electricity goes out due to an issue at TVA, we can’t do anything until that problem is resolved there. If something happens through MES, our staff works diligently to correct the problem as soon as possible,” said Rodney Boyd, general manager and CEO of McMinnville Electric. “We are thankful for our customers and their patience when these issues do occur, and we will work our hardest to restore power as soon as we can.”
When lightning struck the switch knocking out the TVA’s transmission line between Great Falls substation and Newtown substation, both MES and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative were affected.
“The power outage occurred in the northern, southern and eastern parts of Warren County. The substation which received damage is in the Newtown area,” said Bill Rogers, general manager of Caney Fork Electric. “The main areas that lost electricity were in the south down toward Irving College, the Eastside community, everyone from town to the Warren County line going toward Smithville, the Lucky and Yager areas, Nashville Highway and Old Shelbyville Road.”
Caney Fork Electric Cooperative had 8,000 customers lose power for approximately 45 minutes. Caney Fork Electric provides electricity to 32,600 customers throughout Warren County.
The damaged switch has not been completely corrected, but it was temporarily fixed to return power.
“The TVA will have the power turned off at the east McMinnville substation on Sunday, the 14th, beginning at 5 a.m. to fully repair the damaged switch which caused the power outage on Thursday morning,” says Boyd.