Cause of outages

LARGE WHITE PINE on a high voltage power line and leaning toward a second transmission line in the Millers Creek area was the cause of electrical outages in Wilkes County Saturday.

Nearly a third of Duke Energy’s 29,392 customers in Wilkes County lost electricity two different times Saturday due to a large white pine tree falling on a high voltage power line and leaning toward a second and nearby high voltage line on the same transmission tower.

The nearly 9,800 customers first lost electricity around 3:30 a.m. Saturday when the tree fell on the transmission line in a remote area of Millers Creek, said Duke Energy spokesman Meghan Miles. The tree fell from outside Duke’s right of way, she added.

Miles said the company restored electricity around 6:40 a.m. by switching them to a redundant high voltage line on the same transmission tower.

She said the tree was also leaning towards the redundant transmission line used to restore power, so the tree had to be removed.

“For crews to work safely, we had to de-energize both lines in order to remove the tree.” Miles said this resulted in the nearly 9,800 customers experiencing a second outage starting around 2 p.m. and continuing for about two hours.

The outages were in part of Wilkesboro and the Millers Creek, N.C. 18 North and others sections of Wilkes.

Millers Creek Fire Chief Robbie Bolin and Wilbar Fire Chief Rick Jennings both said they didn't know the location of large tree on a transmission line. Miles said she also didn't know the location.

Miles said Duke Energy regretted the inconvenience and crews worked as quickly and safely as possible to restore electricity.

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