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BWL says contractor caused 2 outages

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jun 28, 2016

Thousands of Lansing's Board of Water and Light customers went without power twice in a span of five days.

"When we have an outage that affects a thousand customers, like we had on Wednesday last week," said BWL General Manager, Dick Peffley. "We take a look into what happened first of all we patrol the circuit. We look for anything that might have cause it."

Last Wednesday almost 1,100 customers lost power. Then again Monday, 1,149 went dark.

All of the customers had one common link they shared the same circuit.

"When we have a second outage on the same circuit within two to four days, which we just had. We really dived into it," Peffley said.

To figure out what happened crews dug into the circuit. Then they saw a new line of cable ripped through their existing one.

"You can see the insulation is broke and what happens is the cable faults the ground and trips the breaker and in this case took out about a thousand customers," Peffley explains to Fox 47 News as he shows the ruined cable.

He says a contractor not associated with BWL unknowingly caused those outages after drilling his own cable.

"Preliminary we can show that this conduit that was drilled in. Hit our cable and nicked it," he said. "Some times these don't show up for weeks or months because the insulation gets damage."

This time that damaged showed up twice as black outs.

"This is one of the challenges of having all of your cables buried underground, you know everybody is installing their services and there is limited space but you need to take proper precautions when you are working around our utilities," said Peffley.

He says they'll use this situation as a teaching moment for contractors on the safety of knowing where you dig.