Residents near the highway 70 east substation said it looked like the Fourth of July had returned this morning when the substation received a direct hit from lightning. That shut down electricity for much of Crossville, Homestead, Tansi and Crab Orchard for several hours. More than 17,500 VEC customers were without electricity as people were trying to get ready for work and motorists observing dark traffic signal intersections as four-way stops.
CNF talked to VEC Manager Bobby Randolph who told us that the lightning strike took out several components of the substation which were underground. Mr. Randolph went on to say that it was fortunate the lightning strike didn’t hit the substation huge breakers – else the power would have probably been off for eight hours or more instead of just over two. The highway 70 E substation is one of two that serves most of Cumberland County from Crossville to southern and eastern Cumberland County. VEC crews went to work immediately to identify the damaged conductors and replace them as quickly as possible.