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NYPA Returns Full Power to St. Lawrence Project

Connie Cullen

March 29, 2006

MASSENA—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) today restored full power to the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project after an incident involving a fire at a transformer shut down the facility for a brief time early this morning.  No personnel were injured and damage was restricted to the transformer.  NYPA is performing an analysis as to the cause of the electrical events, though they caused the loss of generation, still protected all other equipment from damage enabling service to return in a short time.

At about 12:30 am today (Wednesday), one or several small wild animals, possibly a raccoon(s), which are common to the project area, got on top of a transformer.  (A transformer collects electricity generated by the turbines and adjusts its voltage, the pressure the electricity moves at, so it can be sent over transmission lines which accommodate specific voltages.) 

At this same point, all generation was lost but was restored in about two and one-half hours.  Other NYPA units around the state were immediately activated to supplement the lost generation so power continued to flow uninterrupted to all NYPA customers served by the project including Alcoa. 

The animal apparently got into the energized (live) area of the transformer causing a fire that led to the failure of the transformer.  This caused a loud noise alerting project security.  At the time power was lost within the project.  Project security notified operations staff who were already aware of the problem.  Within minutes project security arrived at the particular transformer, observed the deluge (fire suppression) system was in operation and no personnel were in danger.  Project security reported these details to operations. Project senior management and the appropriate maintenance crews were notified and responded to the project.

The deluge system was able to control but not extinguish the fire.  Upon this observation project senior management and security contacted the local fire department for assistance.  The area was de-energized allowing the Massena Fire Department access to the transformer which they sprayed with foam that completely extinguished the fire.      

 ■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating plants in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. 

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