Hardware failure causes brief blackout in Perry and surrounding towns Wednesday night

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The ITC Midwest substation directly south of the new Alliant Energy substation, will remain in service for now.

Perry lost electrical power at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when a lightning arrestor failed at the Alliant Energy substation on Perry’s west side.

Heather Holmes, Alliant spokesperson, said the outage was on the transmission lines at the Perry substation and affected several other towns, including Bouton and Dawson. The cause was unknown, she said.

“We don’t actually own the transmission lines, but ITC owns the transmission lines,” Holmes said, “so although they are Alliant Energy customers, ITC owns the lines, so the issue is with their substation, and we aren’t privy to the cause yet.”

The outage “only lasted 15 minutes,” she said Thursday morning.

Tom Petersen, communications director for ITC Midwest, said the cause of the outage “was a problem with a piece of equipment called a lightning arrestor. It’s a kind of insulator that’s meant to protect equipment from, obviously, a lightning strike, and that piece failed and caused a short, essentially, and caused the outage.”

Alliant Energy is currently building a new Perry substation on the north side of Iowa Highway 141 just south of Tyson Fresh meats. The $15 million project is expected to be completed and online this summer, according to Annette Renaud, Alliant Energy key account manager.

“The new substation will move energy farther faster and will be more reliable and robust in order to serve new industries in Perry,” Renaud told the Perry City Council in April.

The project involves erecting 889 new power poles in and around Perry and running 16 miles of new lines, Renaud said. The single substation will replace seven smaller substations around Perry, increasing the local grid capacity to 25 kilovolts.

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