Parts to fix the Ametek-Westchester Substation and the Bellefontaine Street traffic signal at the entrance to Walmart should arrive soon after a malfunction at the substation left many businesses without power on Thursday.
Wapakoneta Electric Superintendent Don Schnarre said sections of Wapakoneta experienced a total electric power failure or their lights flickering Thursday afternoon when the substation failed. Several businesses, including McDonald’s Restaurant and Burger King, lost power at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday as well as other retail and residents fed from the substation.
“We had a breaker for a main feeder line fail at the substation and we are working now to get it up and running,” Schnarre told the Wapakoneta Daily News. “After getting the initial call and isolating the problem, it only took us 45 seconds to restore power.”
The Ametek-Westchester Substation is one of the older substations in the city. Electric Department personnel are still trying to determine what caused the malfunction and the breaker to fail. At this point, Schnarre said he cannot determine if weather and the heavy snow played a part.
Schnarre, who had crews cleaning and replacing switchgear at the substation throughout the day on Friday, worked with General Electric to find replacement parts which should be delivered by early next week. He estimated having the substation fully operational by Tuesday or at the latest by Wednesday.
In the meantime, Schnarre said McDonald’s and Burger King and other businesses and residents are operating off the old Middle Street Substation.
“We still have the capability of using the old circuits,” Schnarre said, noting electric consumers in the Middle Street area are serviced by the new substation. “That is one reason we kept the existing substation operational is for emergencies such as this.”
Crews should have the traffic signal fixed on Monday, or Tuesday at the latest, the electric superintendent said.
“The power outage took the main brain out of the traffic light,” Schnarre said. “I don’t know what happened or why it happened to that traffic light.”
The “main brain” controls the green and red traffic signals including those left-turn only signal into the parking lot as well as those turning left from Walmart onto Bellefontaine Street. To ensure the safety of motorists and their passengers, Wapakoneta Police Department officers installed stop signs at the entrance.