Firey Excitement

As I just mentioned, nothing exciting happens around here. That is, until a transformer at a substation blows up and lights everything in range on fire.

Transformer fire in Reno at the Kleppe and Greg substation.

I apologize for my craptastic cell phone camera, it’s unfortunately all I had with me at the time. Before it blew, the lights had been flickering occasionally for several hours. When it finally went, there was a stuttering flicker followed by a severe phase imbalance condition. According to the generator transfer switch at my office, phase B was down to around 190 volts and phase C was around 280 volts. And yes, of course I have the phase monitoring options, so the generator kicked in before the power actually went out while the rest of the electrical world blinked and flickered with fury.

I had recently been asking myself “how can I effectively test the phase monitor?” and lo and behold, NV Energy (I hate that name, the century-old Sierra Pacific Power name is better) and their exploding HV transformer did a perfect job testing it for me.