Monday, February 22, 2021

Georgia Power reports that most Dunwoody power interruptions ocurr because of weather events, fallen trees & squirrels.

Based on the repeated number of power outages in the City, specifically in the Kingsley and Dunwoody North subdivisions; I raised concerns with Michael Smith our Director of Public Works who met with Georgia Power to discuss the matter.  Below is the feedback that was given to the City Council.

  • Dunwoody has 12 circuits supplied from 4 substations
  • Kingsley is supplied from the Tilly Mill substation, Dunwoody North from the North Shallowford substation and Redfield from the Spalding substation
  • Most of the outages that have occurred in the area over the last year have been tree or weather related
    • 81% of the total minutes of outage in 2020 were attributed to weather events (In the city’s own experience the number of trees that fell in the right of way in 2020 was unusually high)
    • Damage from trees unrelated to a storm were the next most common cause of outages followed by cars running into poles causing 7% of outage minutes.  An older developed area like Dunwoody has more trees near the power lines and a lot of the poles are close to the road.   
    • Equipment failure accounted for 3% of the total outage minutes
  • The causes of the specific outages in Kingsley and Dunwoody North, reported recently on social media were:
    • 11/13- squirrel damage
    • 12/31- squirrel damage
    • 1/26- Tree fell
    • 2/6- squirrel damage
  • Squirrels chewing on lines and equipment are a common problem. Georgia Power has mitigation strategies but can’t completely eliminate the problem. 
  • Georgia Power has an asset management program for replacement of poles and other components.  It is unusual for a pole-mounted transformer to fail and therefore Georgia Power does not replace them on a regular basis but keeps them in service until failure.  The loud explosion that people associate with a transformer blowing is actually a fuse in most cases.  The fuse is a safety feature that protects the public, Georgia Power and its equipment. 
  • Georgia Power typically performs tree trimming on a 3-year cycle.  Trimming is occurring now in the Dunwoody North area and is scheduled for April in the Kingsley area.  Georgia Power data shows that outages typically decrease after tree trimming and then gradually increase until the next tree trimming. 
  • The pilot tree trimming program planned in Peachtree Corners involves more aggressive trimming in an attempt to reduce the number of tree related outages.  Normally Georgia Power just removes limbs immediately around the lines.  In the pilot program they are possibly looking to clear a 15-foot distance on either side of the lines from the ground to the sky.
  • The Kingsley interruption time has been average compared to other circuits in the region.  Dunwoody North is experiencing more interruptions than other circuits in the area.  In addition to the typical interruptions caused by weather, trees, vehicles and wildlife, the Dunwoody North circuit is experiencing interruptions due to failures of the old underground lines in Dunwoody Crossing.  They are currently working on a project to replace those lines. 

1 comment:

Mark said...

At the risk of being labeled crude, I would like to relate the following: For years, I've warned new neighbors and amused guests who've experienced it, that every time a squirrel farts in Valley View, the power blinks.

The frequent issues here in this older neighborhood and infrastructure are one of the reasons why my wife and I invested in solar power including a Tesla Powerwall battery to store excess production. The blinks and most outages are a thing of the past, and I can only hope that Georgia Power will eventually update infrastructure in our area in a manner that improves performance, efficiency, and lessens squirrel access.

Thanks to the city government and the Solarize non-profit for making it so easy for us with the Solarize Dunwoody project of a few years past.