The newly acquired Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) “member-owners” in the Berryville area of Clarke County have been experiencing extensive outages during the past week. Many residents are questioning the new providers ability to deliver reliable service based on the spotty service. REC representatives stated that they are conducting an all-out effort to identify and correct the problems on the distribution lines and substations that serve this area.
“We find the current level of reliability unacceptable and will continue to pursue corrective actions to limit the number and duration of outages in the future,” said John Crawford, REC’s Blue Ridge district manager in Front Royal. “Our goal is to provide our member-owners with safe, dependable electric service, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to make the necessary improvements in the Berryville area,” continued Crawford.
Residents south of Route 7 on Route 606 (River Road) reported three separate power outages in the past eighteen hours with power out for approximately six hours. Mountain residents report that power loss in the area was rare, even during winter months, prior to the REC service takeover.
On June 14, REC crews found that fuses serving a mobile substation transformer had blown as a result of a faulty switch. The mobile transformer was in place while maintenance work was being performed on the permanent transformer in the Old Chapel substation. Residents in the Berryville area experienced an outage that lasted several hours.
On June 23, work at the Old Chapel substation in Clarke County required REC to briefly interrupt service at approximately 3 a.m. and at 6 a.m. in order to perform additional repair work in the substation. The work is now complete, and the station is back to normal operation.
At approximately 6:45 p.m. on June 23, REC started receiving outage calls from residents in Clarke County. A failure in the underground cable delivering high voltage electricity to the substation caused the outage. In less than an hour crews re-energized the Berryville substation from an alternate source.
At 1:15 a.m. on June 24, an overhead line failed, cutting power flow along the alternate source and causing the Berryville substation to de-energize again. Repairs were made to the overhead line, and power was restored at 5:30 a.m. Crews are currently working on final repairs on the underground conductor in order to return the Berryville substation back to normal. REC stated that they anticipate having these repairs completed today. Residents should expect a brief blank when the substation is switched from the alternate source currently supplying it to the primary source.