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Huntsville Utilities restores power after thousands impacted during work, school day

The utility company said it's still working to determine what caused the outage.

Posted: Aug 24, 2020 9:10 PM

Power is back on for everyone in Madison County after a massive outage on Sunday night and Monday morning and afternoon.

Huntsville utilities said the outage impacted more than 28,000. Some people were without electricity for more than 3 hours Monday.

Huntsville Utilities said it got all power restored by 2 p.m. Monday, but understands that the outage disrupted school for virtual students and work for people who are working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Huntsville City Schools said about six of its 30 campuses were impacted.

"We understood when we entered the remote environment there would probably be some technical challenges as we are experiencing today, but all that to say we also entered into remote learning to promote a safe and healthy environment for not only our students, but our families and communities at large," Craig Williams, Huntsville City Schools spokesperson, said Monday.

He explained the power outage Sunday night caused some WiFi connectivity issues on school campuses Monday morning.

"The campuses it did impact, or rather the teachers who were without WiFi, some of those teachers were told they could go home in order to engage in teaching and learning where they could access WiFi," he said.

Joe Gehrdes, Huntsville Utilities spokesperson, said crews worked as quickly as possible to get the power back on, but he understands some people were frustrated.

"We know customers are stressed out because of school, home schooling, distance learning, working from home, understand there is a big Zoom outage today," he explained.

The problem originated at one of the large substations, he added.

"The substation where we're having the problem is a feeder substation for nine other substations, so to think of it as a tiered power system and one of the top tiers is out, so everything below it is out," he explained.

He said this situation is rare. During three different attempts on Monday, the power was brought back up at the substation, but it wasn't enough to stay on.

"All of those things coupled with the warm weather, folks get a little tense when their power has been out for a while. We understand that. We don't want it out for any longer than it has to be, but we have to make sure it's safe to bring it back up," he said.

Huntsville City Schools said teachers will work with students who were impacted by the outage.

"We thank families for their support, we thank families for their flexibility, none of us enjoy technology outages or issues but we do our best to overcome them when they do happen," he said.

Huntsville Utilities said if you're still without power, you should give them call. You can contact them at 256-535-4448 (256-53-LIGHT).

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