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Equipment failure has sparked a lot of work for Orillia Power

Issue at sub station behind Circle K caused 2,200 customers to lose their power last week; Crews have been working hard since to remedy problem
orillia power crews working near mount slave
Orillia Power crews have been working diligently over the past several days after an equipment failure at a sub-station led to a power outage in part of the city. Dave Dawson/OrilliaMatters

If you’ve driven along Westmount Drive near the corner of Mississaga Street, you may have noticed Orillia Power crews working in the area.

That work is all related to a 2.5-hour power outage that occurred last Tuesday and impacted about 2,200 Orillia Power customers.

“A piece of equipment in the sub-station failed,” Grant Hipgrave, the president and CEO of Orillia Power, told OrilliaMatters today.

That piece of equipment is known as a recloser which is, essentially, a high-voltage circuit breaker with integrated current and voltage sensors and a protection relay optimized for use as an overhead network distribution protection asset.

But when the power went out, nobody knew that.

“Essentially, we have to isolate the station at that point and make sure it’s safe for our workers to go in and investigate and make the appropriate repairs,” Hipgrave explained.

Workers had to switch the “load” to other sub-stations in the city that have excess capacity to return power as soon as possible.

Since then, workers have been busy diagnosing the problem, replacing the part, fixing damage and switching customers back to the sub-station tucked behind the Circle K on Mississaga Street.

That sub-station is just four years old.

“It is a relatively new station,” Hipgrave said. “It is an unusual failure event to be honest.”

He said workers are “still groing through all the diagnosis with the failed part.” At this time, it’s not certain what caused the failure.

And while he said he doesn’t “like our customers to experience any disruption,” he stressed local crews have done a “great job given the circumstances” to fix the issue.

“We don’t ever want to rush to get the power back on and put safety in jeopardy,” said Hipgrave.


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Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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