Power outage puts residents in the dark

First Posted: 10/4/2012

Staff report

LUMBERTON — Nearly 4,000 Progress Energy Carolinas customers were in the dark for about 80 minutes on Wednesday when a system failure shut down a substation, according to Jeff Brooks, spokesperson for the company.

Power was restored at 9:14 p.m. on Wednesday to about 3,800 customers in Lumberton and St. Pauls who lost electricity at 7:55 p.m., Brooks said.

Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s lights flickered, but the hospital’s five generators came on immediately and had power restored within eight seconds, according to James Jones, supervisor of Engineering and Facilities Management. No patients were affected by the outage, and emergency equipment continued to work smoothly.

Brooks said a small piece of equipment at the Weatherspoon substation failed, and the system shut down to prevent power surges and dangerous situations for crews who had to replace the component and re-energize the substation.

“It’s a very conservative measure that kicks in,” Brooks said. “… It’s a fairly small component, but the substation all works together.”

Jones said the hospital has 10,000 gallons of fuel on hand to supply the hospital’s generators.

“We run tests weekly just for these types of situations,” Jones said.