Microwave ovens and TV sets were up and running Friday morning for most residents, but work had just started for 17 Utah Power & Light workers.
Employees had barely begun repairs and clean up in the aftermath of a lightning strike at a Hale substation.Dave Mead, manager of public relations for UP&L, said the employees worked around the clock to clean up the soot and oil left from burning circuit breakers at the substation, located at the mouth of Provo Canyon.
"It's been a painstaking process of cleaning up," Mead said. "They had to scrub down the equipment and facilities inside the substation so that when power is restored, the soot and dirt and moisture would not provide a path for the electricity to arc (escape or leak out). We don't want it to arc or we will have the same problem over again."
The substation went down at 6:40 p.m. Thursday after lightening struck the circuit breaker. The breaker exploded, sending its oil over an adjacent circuit breaker. When the oil hit the air, it ignited and engulfed the second breaker.
Both breakers were destroyed and will be replaced as quickly as possible, Mead said. Damage was estimated at $500,000 to $600,000.
The explosion cut off power as far away as Fairview, Sanpete County, and the Point of the Mountain. Sections of power began to be restored within 20 minutes and the last section was brought back around 10 p.m., Mead said. All power was restored except for the Martin Marietta plant in Oak City, Millard County.
UP&L workers rerouted power Friday afternoon to bring Martin Marietta back on line. The company apparently had only one line - from the Hale substation - coming in to the plant.
The problem of cleaning the substation was compounded by snow and ice that developed early Friday morning. Mead said crews were working in insulated gear, but the cold weather lengthened the time it took to return the substation to service.
Mead said the Hale Power Plant has not been in operation for a number of years, but the plant's switching station is an important part of the power grid.