Man misses cow, hits pole instead

Tuesday night's power outage in Kingman wasn't the only outage that occurred in the last week.

Roughly 13,000 UniSource Energy Services customers as far away as lower Mohave Valley and as close as downtown Kingman were without power for about two hours early Saturday.

Bill DeJulio, the senior director for the local UES, said a man headed to work at the Mercator Mine Saturday morning had a range cow step in front of his vehicle.

"He swerved and missed the cow," DeJulio said. "But he hit one of our transmission poles."

The repercussions of the pole coming down were felt at the company's Griffith Substation in Golden Valley.

The substation has a number of transmission lines coming out of it, and the wreck knocked it offline, DeJulio said. Customers in Yucca, Mohave Valley, Golden Valley and Kingman were affected.

"We tried to isolate (the problem) and pick customers up the best we could," he said.

Within 90 minutes, 4,300 customers had power restored, and by the two-hour mark another 6,500 customers were picked up. The last of the powerless customers had their lights back on by 7:30 a.m. - a little more than two hours after the outage.

This is the third outage coming out of the Griffith Substation recently. Lightning stuck the facility during the summer, and on a different occasion, a large bird was electrocuted on the lines outside of the station. Both instances caused major outages, DeJulio said.

"It's been kind of a bad year for us," he said. "We apologize to our customers."

Though these incidents were out of the company's control, DeJulio said efforts are being made to ensure all of the company's protective equipment is in working order. The protective equipment, in some circumstances, can protect the substation from incidents that occur on outside transmission lines, DeJulio said.

The company budgets money for capital improvements every year as well, and DeJulio hopes to use some of that money to fix problems with the system.

"It's a constant battle for us right now," he said.