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Pittsfield Survives Noontime Power Loss

Staff Reports
iBerkshires
12:16PM / Friday, April 25, 2014
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The lack of traffic lights were problematic at major intersections at noontime.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — More than 15,000 customers were without power in Central Berkshire for nearly hour on Friday morning after a Western Massachusetts Electric Co. substation shut down.

Power was out along North Street to Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, causing traffic issues at major intersections.

Priscilla Ress, spokeswoman for WMECo, said the problem was at the Oswald Avenue substation of West Housatonic Street.

"There was a problem detected at the substation," she said. "The relay system shut down, which cut the power."

The power went off at about 11:15 a.m., turning off the lights for nearly 14,000 customers in Pitsfield; 981 in Richmond, 100 in Hancock, 57 in Lanesborough and one Lenox.

The lights were out at City Hall but a backup generator was in use. Berkshire Medical Center did not lose power, we are told — it automatically switched over to a secondary line — but some of its off-campus facilities were out, including the Hillcrest campus mansion. The new Cancer Center, however, switched to a generator backup.

Cell phone service was also reportedly disrupted for some carriers.

WMECo was able to restore power to more than 10,000 Pittsfield customers within the hour; the lights were back on in neighboring communities by 12:20 p.m.

"We have isolated the problem," said Ress. "We are going to continue our investigation on what caused the shut down."


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