Thunderstorm knocked out wind farm
A brief power outage around midnight Sunday, along with a shutdown of the Melancthon Wind Plant and predictions of record-setting storms on the horizon, might lend credence to sales pitches for high-quality surge protectors.
The wind plant went offline at about the same time as Sunday night's lightning storm apparently caused a brief outage of the electrical supply at Orangeville and elsewhere.
As often happens at almost all transformer stations, it was possible that lightning had struck the Canadian Hydro Developers substation at 15 Sideroad and the 10th Line of Amaranth. It was fully operational by about noon Monday.
Maurice Hickey, CHD's assistant manager of the wind energy division, said Tuesday a lightning strike at the substation has been confirmed as the cause. "It's a fairly common occurrence during such storms," he said, adding that there was no physical damage and CHD engineers were able to restart the 45 turbines by computer.
(A recent tour of the wind plant demonstrated that the generators will automatically shut down if there's a problem at the Hydro One grid, to which the substation connects. However, Mr. Hickey said the lightning strike was on CHD's grid.)
Meantime, staff personnel at Future Shop in Orangeville are advising customers to invest in sophisticated surge protectors, rather than just in the relatively old-fashioned power bars that have long been used as a source of protection.
Even in spite of those, tales of "fried" computer hard drives in recent years have almost become legion.
And with homes becoming ever more "digitalized," the risk of more costly damage from power surges is ever present, says Amir Mojali, who recommends that everyone should consider a "high end" protector for all their expensive gadgets.
Amir, who displays the surge protectors at Future Shop in Orangeville, said all of his gadgets - television, computers, microwave, and even his computer modem, among other things - are protected ever since a relative of his had a $600 television set destroyed when lightning apparently struck a power line.
He said the low-end varieties of protector have price tags of less than $50. But the kind he uses and recommends runs about $250, and some are priced higher than that.
His own preference is for the "Monster" brand name, as he says it has a lifetime guarantee. Circuits in the more expensive variety are individually fused.
If Amir is correct, these more costly protectors also "clean" the power supply, keeping it at a constant level, thereby prolonging the life span of the appliances.
The Monster is not the only high-end protector on the market, nor is Future Shop the only available source.