Underground Power Supply Explodes In HB, 5 Burned – Trancas System In Bad Shape

Written by on October 7, 2019

On Saturday night … in Huntington Beach .. a Southern California Edison electrical transformer exploded in the middle of a big street party.

Two firefighters and three civilians were injured.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the underground transformers were making strange noises a week ago … when the restaurant owner had asked Edison to check them.

Edison sent someone to check and they signed off on it … a restarant employee told the newspaper.

“Edison dropped the ball on this, simply put,” he said.

On Saturday night, a strange odor prompted the restaurant’s staff to call the fire department.

It was probably mineral oil overheating inside the transformers.

Underground power lines are far less common than overhead lines …  but the Huntington Beach incident points out that underground power lines are in some ways more dangerous than overhead ones.

They are susceptible to different types of catastrophic failure — possibly at a higher rate of occurrence than overhead wires.

Putting power lines underground does not solve power line risks.

It changes them.

Fewer ignitions of wildfire in Santa Anas, yes.

Underground failures, and explosions with fires such as this, also yes.

And is if to illustrate that further … Southern California Edison doing routine inspections looked at the underground lines that serve the KBUU studios in Malibu Park last weekend.

That 60-year-old underground system has severe degradation.

Rust at the transformer.

Missing screws on the safety hatch.

Cement badly corroded.

It is scheduled for replacement.

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