News: Electrical emergency, soaring temperature brings base commander’s request for help
Story by Joseph P Cirone
WASHINGTON – Electrical cable failures have prompted a request for help from all personnel at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling to take measures to immediately reduce electrical use until repairs are completed.
The catastrophic failure of an underground electrical cable on Friday and the failure of another cable last night, threatens the uninterrupted delivery of power to a portion of JBAB.
Joint Base Commander, Navy Capt. Anthony T. Calandra, said three underground electrical feeder cables and a backup cable, all located in the same area, supply power to a portion of the base. With the two cable failures, the remaining cable and the backup are carrying the entire load for that section of the base. Other sections of the base are served by different feeder cable and remain unaffected.
Fearing increased demands for electric will exceed the capacity of the remaining cables as the temperature increases during the day; Calandra has issued a plea for help from on-base workers and residents to immediately reduce their use of non-essential electrical devices and appliances.
“The feeders we have in use now are carrying 237 Amps. We expect daytime temperatures to approach 90 degrees and our load will increase. As the number of Amps approaches 300 we'll have to begin load shedding,” Calandra said.
Load shedding is a deliberate action taken by the electric utility provider to reduce demand on the electrical distribution system (the two remaining cables) and avoid further damage.
Calandra asks that all unnecessary and non-mission essential electrical devices be disconnected from the electrical distribution system by shutting them off and preferably, unplugging them from the electrical outlet, since electric stills flows while simply powered down.
Turning off lights not in use or in areas with access to natural light; TVs, radios, coffee makers, empty refrigerators, extra computer monitors (if you have more than one) and other devices are examples he provided. “Every little bit helps,” he added.
Calandra said, “The goal is to reduce the total power draw for the base so we do not threaten the entire electrical grid's integrity and so we can maintain mission essential systems.”
PEPCO, the electric utility provider, is working to repair the cables, but the work is not something that can be completed quickly, given their underground location and the extent of the cable failures. The cause of the failures and an estimated date of repair completion were not available at press time, according to a PEPCO spokesperson.
To mitigate the impact on mission essential systems, JBAB’s Public Works Department has plans to further reduce the strain on the electrical grid by using back-up generators in the facilities that have them, Calandra assured.
JBAB is committed to proving exceptional mission support and base services through pride, teamwork, and excellence, with the cooperation of our mission partners, residents, the community and suppliers of services, such as utilities, he concluded.
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