Power outages plagued Urbana for two days in a row during this busy fair week.
The cause of an electricity outage that affected approximately 1,600 customers in the Urbana area Monday night is presumed to be a vegetation issue, according to Dayton Power & Light. The outage darkened the fairgrounds area and other city streets in portions of southern and southwest Urbana, forcing the Champaign County Fair to shut down early Monday night.
The outage occurred after 8:30 p.m. and power was mostly restored by 10:15 p.m.
On Tuesday afternoon starting just after 3 p.m., electricity service was lost in part of the downtown Urbana area. The traffic light at Water Street and Main was not functioning and side streets brimmed with slow-moving fair traffic. Power was restored by 5 p.m. to the affected areas.
In Tuesday’s outage, 1,122 customers were affected but the fairgrounds was not affected, according to DP&L spokeswoman Mary Ann Kabel.
The two outages were unrelated, according to Kabel, but Tuesday’s outage and probably Monday’s outage were due to “vegetation” issues such as tree encroachment on power lines. In order to restore power on Tuesday, DP&L redirected the power flow to a different substation less impacted by vegetation. This redirection is expected to help the power reliability at the fairgrounds and Kabel said DP&L may need to do more tree trimming in the area.
Those attending the annual truck and tractor pull at the fair’s grandstand Monday evening had their entertainment cut short. Long lines of tail lights could be seen creeping along the exit roads from the fairgrounds after the outage occurred.
Comments on social media about the outage Monday evening expressed frustration and concern about the number of people leaving the fairgrounds in the dark and flowing into the city streets.
Spokesmen for the fair said the fairgrounds features recently-improved electrical infrastructure to accommodate the growing volume of usage during fair week. DP&L did not indicate the outage was a result of anything related to the Champaign County Fair.