Thousands without power after turkey vulture apparently lands on breaker (2024)

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Thousands without power after turkey vulture apparently lands on breaker (1)byDavis Shaver

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Update 6:45 p.m. – Met-Ed has provided an update on the outage, saying that the breaker passed its test and is ready to return to service. “We should be able to get the lights back on for the rest of our customers in the next 30 minutes or so,” said spokesperson Todd Meyers. He noted in a followup message that it could be a bit longer than 30 minutes for everything to get switched back to normal. Currently, 1,761 customers are still affected by the outage, according to the company’s outage map.

Update 4:45 p.m. – Met-Ed said that it has restored power to more than half of the customers impacted by the issue at North Lebanon Substation, with approximately 1,780 still without power, mostly in North Lebanon and Bethel townships. The company said that it is still assessing the condition of the breaker and working hard to get the rest of customers restored as soon as possible.

Find our original story below.

For the third week in a row, thousands of Met-Ed customers in Lebanon County are without power. However, the outage on Wednesday, June 19, is not connected to the previous two incidents.

Read More: 2nd Friday outage in a row for city residents, mechanics on the way

About 4,700 Met-Ed customers lost power starting around 2:12 p.m. Wednesday when a circuit breaker opened at the utility company’s North Lebanon Substation. The circuit breaker is designed to protect costly and difficult-to-replace equipment such as the transformers located at the substation.

“When substation electricians arrived, they discovered the carcass of a turkey vulture carrying a squirrel that had landed on the metal breaker, damaging bushings on the breaker,” said Todd Meyers, a spokesperson for Met-Ed owner First Energy.

Meyers said that it will take three or four hours to retrieve the carcasses and then ground and test the equipment to try to bring it back into service to restore power to everyone.

“If the equipment needs to be replaced, the outage could last longer,” said Meyers. “We simply don’t know at this point.”

He noted that with the heat and load on the system, reconfiguration of the distribution network to supply affected customers with different lines could cause to overloaded equipment and further outages.

“We understand it is hot and are working as quickly as possible to restore power to our customers and appreciate their patience,” said Meyers.

North Lebanon Township is most affected at present, with a reported 2,581 customers without power. Other municipalities affected include Bethel Township (692), Lebanon city (521), Swatara Township (477), and West Lebanon Township (369), as well as a handful of other municipalities showing fewer than two dozen customers impacted.

Lebanon County Department of Emergency Services is coordinating information on cooling stations opened in response to the outage.

West Lebanon Township has opened a cooling station for township residents at Speedwell Fire Company, at 324 N. 22nd St., and Bethel Township has opened a cool station for township residents at Fredericksburg Community Center, at 125 S. Tan Alley. Both will remain open until power is restored.

LebTown will keep this article updated as further information is available.

Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

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Davis Shaver is the publisher of LebTown. He grew up in Lebanon and currently lives outside of Hershey, PA.More by Davis Shaver

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