Raccoon gets wires crossed, outage follows

By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer

(Sept. 17, 2020) The raccoon did it.

That would be the culprit responsible for a power outage in Berlin last Wednesday, after one of nature’s masked marauders apparently took the short-circuit route up an electric pole on North Main Street.

Town Electric Utility Director Tim Lawrence said 600 customers were affected by the outage from parts of Flower Street, Branch Street, William Street, Harrison Avenue, Broad Street, Brittany Lane, Ann Drive, North Main Street and West Old Ocean City Boulevard.

He added that 95 percent of customers were out of power for one hour and the other five percent was out of power for two hours.

After some residents were quick to complain about the power outage on the same day the new natural gas generator was commissioned, Lawrence explained that generators do not help prevent outages.

“Generators produce electricity that goes into the lines,” he said. “Breakers, reclosures, switches and cutouts help reduce widespread outages, prevent damage to equipment and help to contain the outage to a centralized area.

“It’s basically the same as an electric panel in a home. You have a 200 amp main breaker with smaller breakers protecting lines that feed to certain areas and receptacles in your home. If a 15 amp breaker trips in your panel, it only shuts power off the line that it is protecting and [the] 200amp main breaker continues to stay closed and feed the rest of the panel.”

The protection scheme is similar, albeit much more complex, for an electric utility, although it is not, apparently, mammal-proof.

Read More: Raccoon gets wires crossed, outage follows

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