Boone County residents adapt after transformer fails

Residents in and around Hallsville told KRCG 13 Saturday they had to make some adjustments after losing power around mid-morning.

Michael Flach said he and his family were watching TV around 9:40 a.m. when the lights started flickering. They went out a couple minutes later. Flach said his family kept its refrigerator and freezer closed and opened the blinds to get whatever solar heating was available. At lunchtime, he drove his family to Columbia to get something to eat and to warm up.

Chris Rohlfing, Boone Electric Cooperativeâ??s manager of member services, said a transformer at the cooperativeâ??s Hallsville substation suffered a mechanical failure, cutting power to about 1,500 customers. He said the failure was not related to the winter storm that hit mid-Missouri late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Rohlfing said crews determined the transformer had to be replaced, so the cooperative borrowed one from the Jefferson City-based Central Electric Power Cooperative. In the meantime, he said crews restored power to most homes by rerouting power from other substations, a procedure known as backfeeding.

Saturday morningâ??s power failure put Hallsville resident Aaron Jenkins in a time crunch. Jenkins, a Columbia College student, said he had to take two online finals in business administration, and Saturday was the last day to do so. Jenkinsâ?? parents still had power, so he took his tests there, a process he said would take 4-5 hours.

Not all Hallsville families made major changes to their routines. Jensen Petersenâ??s family stayed home, keeping warm by wearing layers and shoveling snow or playing in it. Petersen said he loses power at least once every year and has come to expect it. He said homeowners should just be patient because he has never experienced a power outage that lasted longer than a few hours.

Boone Electricâ??s Facebook page reported power had been restored through backfeeding by early Saturday afternoon. The cooperative started switching power feeds to the new temporary transformer around 4 p.m.