Mayor explains rolling blackouts
By ZACHARY FITZGERALD
MORGAN CITY — The Unit 4 generator that helps power the Joseph Cefalu Sr. Steam Plant was back online around 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. Friday after the city saw rolling blackouts to try to lighten the load on the power system while a blower motor was repaired.
The blower motor took longer than expected to repair, Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said. The city had to hold off repairing the part until the temperature of the city’s transformer went down to a point where city officials felt comfortable it would not burn out the transformer, Grizzaffi said.
The city’s power usage peaked at 36 megawatts Friday. The transformer normally can maintain about 22 megawatts, Morgan City Utilities Director Bill Cefalu said. The rolling blackouts lasted about 30 minutes each, with 15-minute breaks, he said.
The city cycled the blackouts through residences during the day and businesses in the evening, Utilities Director Bill Cefalu said. The transformer can carry the entire city’s power load once it gets past the peak load time, which is between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., he said.
Unit 4 was online Thursday evening when the blower motor went out. The city cranked up Unit 3, which also helps generate power for the city, and a valve got stuck on the unit and stopped working, Cefalu said.
Unit 3 was being fixed this morning, Cefalu said.