Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Power outage brings Basehor to standstill

March 14, 2007

Businesses stood empty and the school district debated whether to send students home Tuesday morning during a power outage that affected the entire city of Basehor.

According to Karla Olsen, corporation communications manager for Westar Energy, a malfunction at the 166th Street substation caused the outage that affected 3,754 customers.

Two circuits -- Hollingsworth Road to Evans Road and Kansas Highway 7 to 171st Street as well as Parallel Road to Metro Avenue and 150th Street to 190th Street -- were knocked out about 8:10 a.m.

Basehor police officers were called to direct traffic at the nonworking stoplight at 155th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40. Detective Lloyd Martley said it is standard procedure when the stoplight is not working for officers to block off the turn lanes to avoid accidents.

"We keep the east and west flow open and divert traffic down to 158th Street," Martley said.

School superintendent Bob Albers said as the lunch hour neared, district officials had to draw up a plan for students to be released from school for the day if power had not been restored by 11 a.m.

He said the district had limited options to provide students with cold lunches, and without power, they could not cook lunch for the students.

"We could have managed except for the food service," he said.

But students stayed in school as power was restored to one circuit about 9:06 a.m. and to the other circuit at 9:38 a.m., Olsen said.

Westar Energy customers are encouraged to call 1-800-LIGHT-KS to report any power outages through the automated system, Olsen said.

"That is the fastest way to report an outage," she said.

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