Failing power pole forces emergency power outage on post

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Necessary repairs have been made to power sources, following an emergency outage on July 23 at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin.

Earlier that day, the installation experienced a power outage that lasted less than 30 minutes, caused by floating debris. During that time, Southern California Edison (SCE) discovered a failing power pole that feeds electricity to the installation.

The brief outage, “helped SCE to catch a potentially catastrophic failure that could have dropped a 115,000-volt line onto a rail line,” Paul Schonenberger, the Directorate of Public Work’s Installation Energy Manager said.

SCE said that due to a potential electrical emergency, they needed to terminate services for repair. They said an outage from 10 p.m. – 4 a.m. was required, otherwise, NTC/Fort Irwin could be without power for a much longer period of time.

This outage impacted everything on the installation, except the 24-Hour Shoppette which remained opened.

“Thanks to many in DPW, our Base Maintenance contractor, and others moving swiftly and decisively, we were able to accommodate SCE with little impact to the installation allowing them to avoid a disaster,” Schonenberger said.

Residents were advised to open one window on both sides of their house to generate air circulation and temperatures overnight dipped to 70 degrees. The Garrison provided its normal list of best practices for all concerning computers and equipment, and the Directorate of Public Works reminded residents and employees to leave refrigerator and freezer doors closed, as they could survive well for the duration of the outage.

Fort Irwin schedules two power outages each year in the Spring and Fall to prevent surprise power outages. During the operation, SCE crews conduct pole replacement, along with maintenance and repairs on the power line that feeds Fort Irwin. The outage scheduled for March 2020 was canceled due to the onset of coronavirus.

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