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Lightning disrupts electric service

A thunderstorm Sunday afternoon yeilded a power outage for traffic lights and some residents along Highway 29 and Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway.

One resident reported an outage on the corner of Lindsey Bridge Road and Stanley Avenue to emergency services, according to E-911 dispatch reports.

Although not confirmed, witnesses alleged the weather was the cause of the outage, which left an estimated 1,500 residents without power for approximately 2 hours, said Utilities Board Supervisor Royce Whigam.

"Witnesses said there was a lot of lightning around the east side of town, which was where the outage originated," Whigam said. "Nothing has been confirmed on the cause yet."

Wigham said a main transformer at the Antioch substation blew out, and power was transferred to another substation gradually.

"The power was switched one load at a time in a two-hour long process," he said.

In addition to the residents, some local businesses, including Blimpies, Winn-Dixie, Movie Gallery, and Food World were without power during the outage. Street lights and traffic lights, of course, were also out, which prompted police officers to direct traffic at intersections on Pioneer Drive, East Three Notch Street, and MLK Jr. Expressway.

Work to install a new transformer began Sunday and was completed Monday afternoon at about 3 p.m., according to Whigam. The Andalusia Utilities Board was not alone in efforts to revive power, however.

"The police department and AEC did an outstanding job with helping establish a mobile substation," Whigam said. "Of course, I'd also like to thank the line crew for all their hard work."

Wigham added in situations such as the one which occured Sunday, he is proud to have a collaboration of people to help customers and businesses get back to normal.

"We go to great lengths to keep power running, and we do the best we can," he said. "It's nice to have fast-responding and helpful individuals help us in times of need."