Traffic crash triggers Sparta power outage


A traffic crash triggered a holiday weekend power outage in Sparta.

According to the Sparta Area Fire Protection District, emergency crews were dispatched Dec. 30 around 7 p.m. to an accident at the corner of Water and Wisconsin Street, where an eastbound vehicle went off the road. The vehicle severed a power pole, which cut off electric service in the immediate area.

The Sparta Barney Center was opened for people needing a place to stay warm during the outage.

No injuries were reported, and Xcel Energy restored electric power to most of the areas affected within four hours.

Florida’s primary energy provider is ready to launch a powerful new technology, just ahead of the busiest weeks of the Atlantic hurricane season: a new fixed-wing drone designed fly into tropical storm force winds and speed the restoration of electricity after severe weather. FPLAir One resembles a small plane and is remotely operated, enabling the utility to capture and deliver images and video of damaged electrical equipment in real time to its command center. It can fly up to 1000 miles (1600 kilometers) at a time — enough to cover the length of Florida twice in the immediate wake of the most damaging storms. It’s a vast improvement on bucket trucks and hand-held drones when it comes to learning what a storm did at the top of a power pole. “Rather than going out and try to figure out what’s going on, we’re able to save hours and days on getting the lights on,” Florida Power and Light Chairman and CEO Eric Silagy told The Associated Press. The drone can even be pre-deployed when a major storm hits, skirting around to its wake and following its path across the utility’s power grid.


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