A power outage that affected much of the south end of Cache Valley last week had a relatively small silver lining: Hyrum Light & Power was able to replace three ceramic insulators that had apparently been damaged by someone shooting at them.
The outage was caused when a Rocky Mountain Power line went down in the Millville area sometime after 9 a.m. Friday. Nearly 3,000 customers were without power for about 5 hours, including areas in Hyrum, Wellsville and Mendon.
While it appears the damaged insulators weren’t part of the outage’s cause, Hyrum Light & Power Superintendent Matt Draper said workers took advantage of the outage to quickly replace three damaged insulators.
The skirts of the insulators look like they’ve been damaged by a BB or pellet gun, Draper said.
“I don’t know if they were shooting birds on the wire or what they were doing,” Draper said. “I don’t know what people do or why they do it, but it’s expensive, I know that.”
The insulators themselves cost about $250 each, Draper said, not to mention the labor costs to replace them. Within the last month, the city had found six that had been damaged. The insulators were causing some issues in wet weather the past couple of weeks, so crews had already replaced three of them by the time the outage struck.
Changing the insulators on a live 46,000-volt line takes about 2 1/2 hours of painstaking work while maintaining safe clearances, Draper said. And any outage — even planned outages for maintenance — is a costly proposition for city residents and business, Draper said, not to mention the factories in Hyrum like JBS and West Point Dairy.
“So once the power went down, we just hurried and slammed them out and got them changed out,” Draper said.
Draper asks anyone who sees someone do something suspicious with power lines in Hyrum to contact the city offices at (435)245-6033 or to call the police.
“It just hurts everybody when stuff like that happens,” Draper said.