Duke Energy: ‘Power surge’ at Kings Island result of damaged pole

An electric pole damaged by a vehicle led to three seconds-long power surges in less than one week at Kings Island, according to Duke Energy.

The cause of the surges from Friday, Monday and Tuesday were all associated with a pole that was recently moved to make way for road widening on Western Row Road, according to Duke Energy spokeswoman Sally Thelen.

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“That pole had guy wires that had been hit sometime Friday night, which caused the pole to lean,” Thelen said. “This, in turn, involved our transmission and distribution lines becoming too close which was causing them to auto shut off momentarily causing the outage to the park.”

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Kings Island spokesman Don Helbig, however, said what occurred at the park were not outages but “a brief flicker/surge, similar to what you might experience in your home when lights and television go out for a second and then come back on.”

“We had power back within seconds of the flicker,” Helbig said. “However, rides are shut down as a precaution temporarily and begin to re-open after safety checks have been completed.”

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The situation was temporarily repaired on Monday afternoon, and Duke Energy crews installed a permanent fix late last night once the park was closed, according to Thelen.

“This was a unique situation that originated with the auto damage on Friday night, that unfortunately took us some time to locate,” Thelen said. “We were actively on the line near the park when the problem occurred again Monday afternoon, so we felt confident that this was the point on our system where we needed to isolate and make the repair.”

Duke does not anticipate any additional issues in regards to the supply to the park, she said.

“We will continue to work with park officials to ensure our system is operating optimally for them,” Thelen said.

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Helbig said it is “extremely rare” for Kings Island to experience a power flicker or surge at any point during the season. If they do occur, the amusement park has operational procedures in place, which include temporarily suspending ride operation, he said.

“Rides are designed with safety features that include detecting anything that is not normal happening within the operating system,” Helbig said.

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