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S’sssnake gets z’zzzapped knocking out power to much of city

An overly adventurous, slithering snake shorted out a power circuit early Monday morning, and plunged thousands of Cairo homes and businesses into deeper darkness. Sometime after 3:30 a.m., about 1,800 to 2,000 electricity customers with the City of Cairo lost power for nearly an hour.
Rod Prince, energy services director for the City of Cairo, says the snake crawled up a utility pole and onto a line on Second Avenue, S.E., causing the outage. A malfunctioning breaker at the city’s substation downtown failed to open the circuit as it was supposed to, making the automated system think there was an off-balance transformer. To protect the transformer, an automatic switch opened four circuits, and all customers on the west side of Cairo, along with others, lost power.
Once linemen found two blown fuses on a utility pole located next to another pole with one blown fuse, they discovered the dead snake still on the line in between the poles. Prince said the serpent was likely a white oak snake.
Before power could be restored, Cairo crews had to follow a check process with Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia monitoring center officials, to ensure the safety of the costly transformer. Prince says it took 53 minutes to restore power.
This was the first major outage to take place here since the city entered into an agreement with the City of Thomasville for their employees to answer overnight calls from Cairo.
Because Internet was down at the city’s warehouse site, Thomasville was unable to open one gate remotely to give Cairo crews access to their work trucks. However, because a generator keeps the City of Cairo warehouse and CNS buildings powered, crews with remote controls were able to open the gate if they were on the premises. They also had keys they could use to open locks on two other gates.
“The rumor of we couldn’t get in to get trucks is false,” Prince said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Thomasville was having its own issues connected to weather, Prince said. “Thomasville said, ‘we’re inundated with calls, you have to take them,’” he said. This possibility had been accounted for, and a city employee was called into man the phone calls. Prince said that employee, Faye Ingram, answered 93 calls. He did not know how many calls Thomasville handled.

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