July 19, 2019

Why are 2 power stations in Madison burning?



Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Two fires burning at Madison Gas and Electric substations in downtown Madison."
The first and larger of the two fires appears to be at the MG&E property on East Washington Avenue. A second fire could be seen at the substation behind Ogg Hall on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus....

ADDED: "Update: MGE explosion shot flames 150 feet high, thousands still without power Downtown" (Wisconsin State Journal). Video at the link. ALSO: here:

74 comments:

Rusty said...

Everybody turned their air conditioning on at once. plus. old equipment.

FleetUSA said...

Arson?

henry said...

Hopefully equipment failure and not sabotage.

Drago said...

Must be Russians.

It's always the Russians nowadays.

Seeing Red said...

Is it contract time?

Fernandistein said...

Never send to know for whom the 2 power stations in Madison burn; they burn for thee.

Original Mike said...

If I had air conditioning, I'd be worried.

Darrell said...

What do we want?
Clean, free, socially responsible power!
When do we want it?
NOW!

Rusty said...

Are these power station or power sub-stations?
I would think that any power station would be located on the Wisconsin River or some other large body of water.

ga6 said...

Outlaw ALL use of PCBs and this will happen...

Original Mike said...

One of each, Rusty. The power station used to burn coal. Probably gas now, I haven't really paid attention.

Original Mike said...

The power station uses Lake Monona for cooling.

The Drill SGT said...

Rusty said...
Are these power station or power sub-stations?


sounds like they are distribution facilities, not power generation plants

e.g. substations

Seeing Red said...

It’s a shame it couldn’t have happened when college started. It would be giving a lot of students their dream....

Nonapod said...

Obviously it's a virtual certainty that they're related. I'd imagine it's just a result of the garden variety overloading of the power grid that occurs due to everyone running their air conditioners during hot summer days and putting a strain old/overused equipment. From what I understand, as the giant transformers used in substations age, they gradually deteriorate and become more likely to explode in a spectacular display of arcing electricity and electrolytic fluid when under heavy strain.

EDH said...

"Okay, take out the Power Station...

Thank you.
"

buwaya said...

substations.
transformer fires.

Charlie said...

Althouse had a particularly hot take this AM?

traditionalguy said...

Any power outage? That is the scourge of coastal areas. Winds take out trees that take out power lines that take out the refrigeration.

Narr said...

Any reports of loners, libertarians or atheists lurking around? (Gays? Divorced and remarried people? Trump supporters? Trump opponents?)

Got to watch out for them, you know!

Narr
Thought I'd save someone the trouble, so earlie in the morning

AllenS said...

Solar panel malfunction took out one of them, and the other caught on fire when the power generating windmill which didn't work anymore collapsed on top of it.

Gahrie said...

I blame Trump.

rhhardin said...

New technology doesn't work either. Scott Adams talking to Dr Drew gets fragmentary audio bursts only. That's top of the line.

Tommy Duncan said...

From the look at the pictures, this is not a minor incident. One picture shows a substantial fire that is consuming a fairly large area.

Power companies focus on redundancy, isolation of problems and the avoidance of single points of failure. The pictures available now suggest a larger scope of damage than I would have expected from a simple fried transformer in a substation.

On the other hand, a week of hot, humid weather has put a strain on electrical facilities in a city hostile to modern infrastructure. Every morning the electrical demand spikes when programmable thermostats adjust interior temperatures that were allowed to rise overnight in empty businesses.

Christy said...

Accidents happen. Bet they will happen more often in the age of forced diversity, when identity trumps ability. Maintenance is currently such a toxic male thang.

Leland said...

Did anyone see De Blasio around?

traditionalguy said...

They laughed when a mild snow fall stopped life in Atlanta. It looks like a mild warm day has stopped life in Madison. Your Generac salesmen will stop by soon.

Original Mike said...

"They laughed when a mild snow fall stopped life in Atlanta. It looks like a mild warm day has stopped life in Madison."

Lame. I can assure you life has not stopped in Madison.

tcrosse said...

Wait until all those electric cars are charging up at the same time.

Amadeus 48 said...

I don't think that it is that hot yet. 83 in Chicago, but headed up.

LYNNDH said...

Same place, two pics from different angles.

BADuBois said...

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action."

Auric Goldfinger

MadisonMan said...

Just got back from a traffic light-free Capitol Square. What a mess.

MountainMan said...

Climate change. It is responsible for everything these days.

Beasts of England said...

They should send a couple of persons down the personhole cover to see what happened...

Yancey Ward said...

I hope the power stays on today in the upper midwest- Madison is supposed to hit 95 today. Big cold front, though, will break the heat for everyone starting tomorrow and going into early next week.

Yancey Ward said...

I have been laughing my ass off the last couple of days, though, at the chickens in the media proclaiming this heat wave to be one for the record books. Too fucking funny- it appears all of these people have memories that only stretch back a year or two.

sykes.1 said...

Considering this is Madison, it is likely sabotage by leftist radicals. Sons of SDS no doubt.

I'm being snarky. Sabotage is probable, and leftist radicals are the culprits.

Madison has a long sordid history of leftist violence.

Sofa King said...

they gradually deteriorate and become more likely to explode in a spectacular display of arcing electricity and electrolytic fluid when under heavy strain.

Insulating fluid, not electrolytic, but otherwise yeah.

Nonapod said...

Insulating fluid, not electrolytic, but otherwise yeah.

Yeah, aren't those transformers basically giant vats of mineral oil?

gspencer said...

Check your local Antifas.

YoungHegelian said...

Has Godzilla been seen in Wisconsin recently?

Fernandistein said...

You may shoot me with your Gas,
You may cut me with your Electricity,
You may kill me with your loud explosion,
But still, like fire, I’ll burn.

Curious George said...

Yancey Ward said...
I hope the power stays on today in the upper midwest- Madison is supposed to hit 95 today. Big cold front, though, will break the heat for everyone starting tomorrow and going into early next week."

We had a 12 hour outage yesterday in Milwaukee. Sucked.

purplepenquin said...

Last week (week before?) there was a smaller power outage downtown. Affected City/County Bldg, Monona Terrace, and a couple of the GEF's for about 3-4 hours.

Me-thinks this will take a lot longer to get back up and going

traditionalguy said...

Maybe the same $9.00 an hour Programers that Boeing had do the Programs for its 737MAX autopilot did the programs for your electric power substations.

traditionalguy said...

The Madison FD just sprayed water on to an oil fire. Any fool that cooks would know how that works. I Know. The water spray releases oxygen that feeds an oil fire when you need foam to smother it.

paminwi said...

Only know that as off 10:00am surgeries were on hold at St. Mary's Hospital. They had electricity but need to get the all clear from MG&E before they proceed. Looks like it will be a late night for my husband.

rhhardin said...

The bright side is that the load on the generators is reduced in this time of high load. Madison can help supply other cities.

tcrosse said...

Here's hoping Althouse's electric bicycle has a good charge.

SoLastMillennium said...

They plugged all their Teslas in at once?

And that's GOJIRA, YoungHegelian .

Slip said...

Exo-terrorism. Earth Liberation Front (ELF),

Slip said...

Exo-terrorism. Earth Liberation Front (ELF).

Slip said...

Eco-terrorism. Earth Liberation Front (ELF).

MadisonMan said...

paminwi: Good thoughts for your hub's surgery!

Yancey Ward said...

I think it likely she meant her husband is working at the hospital.

MadisonMan said...

Aw. Yes, thanks. The problem with reading quickly.

Working late on Hot and Humid day when you're in a/c isn't a bad thing, but still a disruption.

Richard Fagin said...

Transformer explosions are common because transformers are filled with flammable mineral oil. Flammable mineral oil is used because previous dielectric liquids (PCBs), which were non-flammable and non-chemically reactive when kept in a sealed container, like a transformer housing, were "found" to be carcinogenic. So as another sacrifice to Gaia we lose one more safe, effective, inexpensive substance. Carbon tet, Mirex, chlordane, Dursban, DDT...the list goes on and on. The trial lawyers are working on glyphosate. May their houses be eaten by termites, may fire ants invade their gardens, and let their shrubs be overrun with poison ivy.

I'm Full of Soup said...

AllenS at 9:45AM GOOD ONE! and believable with all the far left mad libs in Madison.

chuck said...

> Carbon tet, Mirex, chlordane, Dursban, DDT...the list goes on and on.

talcum powder...

Slip said...

"Transformer explosions are common because transformers are filled with flammable mineral oil." Like I said, Eco Terrorism.

John henry said...


Blogger Richard Fagin said...

Transformer explosions are common because transformers are filled with flammable mineral oil. Flammable mineral oil is used because previous dielectric liquids (PCBs), which were non-flammable and non-chemically reactive when kept in a sealed container, like a transformer housing, were "found" to be carcinogenic.

About the time this ban, early 80s, took place I was still employed. We had an electrical engineer as a consultant who had graduated from Notre Dame in 1935 or so and came to PR on a 6 month contract. Turned 100 a few years ago but I don't know if he is still with us.

Anyway, he told me that he, and most electricians, kept a bottle of the PCB oil on hand and used it as linament for aches and pains. He used it for many years.

He scoffed at the idea it caused cancer.

John Henry

John henry said...

Blogger Curious George said...

We had a 12 hour outage yesterday in Milwaukee. Sucked.

Pikers.

Let me know when you've been without power for a month or two.

Fairly regular occurrence down here. 4 months in 17

2-3 months each time in 89 and 98.

really, really, sucks.

John Henry

Rusty said...

I know around here in the peoples republic of Illinois we have so called peaker plants. Basically big jet engines that run on natural gas and are hooked up to generators. When demand gets too much for the regular Comm ed grid the peaker plants go on line. Helps keep the outages to a minimum.
OT
before the large Hadron Collider went online there would be small power outages in the wee hours of the morning here because that's when FermiLab ran their experiments. So you'd wake up and all the electronic time keepers would be 5-10 min off. Not too much any more.

Tommy Duncan said...

The news has gone silent on this story. We don't know the cause and we don't know when or how the power will come back on.

Mandalay Bay on Lake Monona.

Birkel said...

You guys took all the good jokes.

h said...

I'm checking in about 8 hours after the initial post, and I still don't see any kind of official explanation. I hope the Madison based commentariat will clue us in about what actually happened with these fires.

james said...

Rusty, IIRC we ran experiments 24/7 at Fermilab, but I don't go back all the way to the beginning.

walter said...

https://twitter.com/MGEMadison

Big Mike said...

It’s been almost 12 hours now. Has power been restored? Do they know what happened?

Rusty said...

james
thank you. I'm just a local and that's what the rumors were.

Howard said...

Blogger traditionalguy said...

The Madison FD just sprayed water on to an oil fire. Any fool that cooks would know how that works. I Know. The water spray releases oxygen that feeds an oil fire when you need foam to smother it.


The water molecule does not release oxygen so easily. If it did like you said, they could use water for an oxidizer in rocket ships.

hstad said...

I live in SC and similarly one of the largest oil refineries [Torrance, CA] in Southern California catches on fire with regularity, every 3 - 5 years. Largely, because CA regulatory officials are heavy handed in their regulatory zeal thus preventing major upgrades to the refinery with newer equipment. Eventually, this facility will be shut down, that's what the climate zealots in the AQMD want. Yet, people rarely know one very big fact. The refinery is capable of processing an average of 155,000 barrels of crude oil daily and producing 1.8 billion gallons of gasoline per year, which represents nearly 10% of the gasoline demand in California. Shut this baby down and Obama's famous pledge of 2008, "....under my plan ... electricity [gasoline] rates would necessarily skyrocket....," will become a reality.

Tommy Duncan said...

I still can't find a news article that provides the cause of the two fires associated with the power outage.