Hi everyone, just found THIS LINK of what has to be the most incredible example of how bad things can get when the power distribution system's protective relay scheme fails to do it's job. The events starting around 3:50 are especially dramatic.
The comments provide some interesting details..now imagine this nightmare going on FOR HOURS in your neighborhood!!
Thankfully, it seems that modern protective relay setups (the video is from 1988) are more reliable.
Even so, this situation made me wonder..even though the relay system had failed, and admittedly it would be very risky, but wasn't there any way a line crew could have manually cut the power using cutters or a thing I've heard of called a "loadbuster'? It would seem to have lessened the overall damage to the homes and distribution system.
Why would it take the utility so long to shut down that area of the grid? It would seem that they could knock it down, cut the bad lines out and reenergize it. Seeing that soffit go up does remind us why we want short service conductors that are not wrapping around the house
Boy, that's some burnout. Around 3:55 is that arcing we're seeing on the service drop to the house? Looks like the HV might have shorted across to it.
Paul, I think from the comments on the video site that the service drop burned down because the transformer(s) on that feeder failed from the stress, letting full primary voltage get through to the secondaries.
If you listen closely before and after that spot, you can hear the transformer's(?) buzzing changing pitch during that timeframe.