The last night of the midnight shift had been quiet, uneventful, when the emergency supervisor in the Control Room was given the assignment to switch out a 4kv feeder in preparation for an overpass relocation job.
It was one of those nights that you hope for, a chance to kick back and chill. The emergency desk in this room is one that filled with stress as you alternate from switching, to managing manhole fires to troubleshooting a URD outage. This is on a normal shift, imagine when the storms hit. You are pumped, focused, and ready for anything. Tonight, well, you can let your guard down a bit.
The supervisor reviewed the plan and checked the feeder print. Simple! A few switch moves, a phase check, about an hour or two of work and the night is in. The supervisor reached out to the two veteran troubleshooters, whose night had also been uneventful. He briefed them on the plan and gave each of them their field locations.
The feeder that they were assigned to switch has several underground dips under major highways including the one that they were isolating. The first man radioed from location that he had checked switches closed. The second troubleshooter was given the order to begin isolating the dip via switches and tags. He called in his completion and moved on to the next location.
As he reached the second location, the trouble tickets began to pop up on the computer screens in the Control Room. A nauseous feeling (you know that feeling that comes with knowing that you have made a mistake) came over the emergency supervisor as he dispatched the first lineman to the tie point, his next location. Too late!
Terry Bellew - Lineman