Substation Explodes in Ft Lauderdale Florida
A substation exploded in Ft Lauderdale, Florida and caused a blackout for thousands, as reported by the Miami Herald. Click here for a description of the cause and effect of the loss of a substation.
Substation Fire Results in Loss of Power
"Power restored in Fort Lauderdale after substation explosion caused blackout for thousands" was headlined by the Miami Herald. This article was published on March 26, 2019, and updated on March 27, 2019. At approximately 8:00 p.m., Ft Lauderdale police received a report that an explosion had occurred at an electrical substation.
An investigation revealed that lightning had struck the substation causing a fire. First responders quickly extinguished the fire without any injuries. The explosion caused a power outage to approximately 33,690 customers in Broward County. Florida Light and Power (FPL) rapidly responded and restored power to 19,690 customers before 11:00 p.m. FPL tweeted that all customers had power restored at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, March 27. For information on this event go to Miami Herald
The Function of Substations
Power plants supply high-voltage electricity to multiple substations. A combination of high-voltage lines and towers allow transmission of power from the generating plant to the substation. The number of customers served and the type of electrical service determines the size and amount of equipment needed.
Substations can be owned and operated by utilities or large industrial/commercial customers. Transmission, distribution, collector, converter, and switching are the different styles of substations. Large substations can support more than one style. Most are not manned and have operations that are controlled remotely.
Equipment commonly found in a substation is:
- Transformers - Step-down transformers lower input voltage and step-up transformers increase voltage level
- Circuit Protection - Power fuses on distribution transformers and circuit breakers
- Controls & Distribution - These panels route power and can have switching capability to redundant equipment
Each piece of equipment is a link in the chain of equipment to receive power from the generating plant and distribute to customers. If any link in the chain breaks, power is lost.
Outage Length & Span Factors
The span of a power outage is related to how many customers are affected. This is largely determined by the function of the substation on the electrical grid. If a primary substation suffers catastrophic damage, all of the secondary substations do not receive power. This affects areas the primary and secondary substations supply.
The length of time customers are without power is determined by the type and amount of damage to the equipment. Utility companies have back up equipment that can be transported to the site to speed the repair process. Some things that can add to the outage time are:
- Weather Conditions - Hurricanes and severe thunderstorms with high winds and lightening prohibit electrical crews from working because of safety concerns.
- Area Conditions - Crews must be able to get to the substation to repair damages. Storm damaged access roads must be cleared, and waters receded in flooding conditions.
- Damages - Catastrophic damage such as a direct tornado, or hurricane hit can require complete reconstruction. If a piece of equipment is damaged that is not normally stocked, down time is increased for shipping.
When a power loss occurs, the primary concern is when will it be restored. Outage time can be a short-term event or be long-term and last for days are longer. Emergency generators offer a solution to the power outage.
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Diesel Blog Team
| 4/4/2019 12:58:37 PM
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