UPDATE: NAEC says could be days before all power is restored; mobile substation arrives

A fire at a North Arkansas Electric Cooperative substation in southern Mountain Home early Friday morning could leave some customers without power through the weekend. The fire started shortly after 2:30 Friday morning at the Southland Substation, is located near the intersection of the Sheid-Hopper Bypass and Pebblecreek Drive. It’s believed a lightning strike may have started the fire, which has destroyed the substation.

At one time, virtually the entire city of Mountain Home was without power for several minutes. For several hours, upwards of 7,000 customers of NAEC and Entergy combined were without power. Entergy was able to get power to their customers restored by about 5:40 Friday morning. The co-op is reporting 1,153 customers in the vicinity of the Southland Substation are affected.

Mel Coleman, CEO of North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, says crews are working at the site but it could be a lengthy process.

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Friday afternoon at 3, NAEC reported a mobile substation had arrived at the site of the fire.

The mobile unit comes from Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation and consists of two semi-trailers connected once on site.

Crews continue to work on a temporary structure that will allow the mobile unit to be connected. Materials are on site, and the two main structures have been set.

Coleman says this is a situation they have never encountered, so they don’t have a firm timetable on how long it will take to get power restored to those who are still out.

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When the fire first started, the Arkansas State Police shut down the Sheid-Hopper Bypass for a while over concerns high voltage transmission lines could fall across the highway. The bypass was reopened again before 5 Friday morning.

Updates from North Arkansas Electric will be posted at naeci.com.

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