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'I heard a loud explosion': High and low power lines touching causes imbalance

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Posted at 2:22 PM, Jun 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 18:19:06-04

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Several Waukesha residents are trying to figure out what caused a power surge that led to circuits to trip and fry appliances.

"I was asleep and all of the sudden I heard a loud explosion," Waukesha resident Tom Armstrong said.

Armstrong said the loud noise was just the beginning.

"I noticed the outlet directory next to the circuit breaker box had scratch marks all over it," he said.

He isn't the only one. A few dozen people in the southwest Waukesha neighborhood were also impacted.

"It's a little creepy in the middle of the night to be like what's going on," Jill Larson stated.

Larson said she heard the loud boom and then several lights went out.

"We didn't see anything that was on fire. I opened the panel and ten of our circuits were blown," she added.

Throughout the day we spoke to people who say everything from microwaves to dishwashers were fried during the power surge.

The culprit? Two power lines that somehow managed to touch.

"In a split second it sent the high voltage through low voltage lines, and that's what went into peoples homes, creating a short surge of energy," said Brendan Conway with We Energies.

Conway said this is a rare event, and equipment in place prevented this from being worse.

Now, the power company is looking into how the lines touched in the first place.

"Sometimes you'll find a branch that burned and fell down, maybe damage from a car," Conway added.

While We Energies continues to investigate, officials recommend homeowners contact an electrician if something is off.

The power company also has several crews on scene talking to customers and looking at their equipment.

All residents have power as of Thursday morning, the company said.

The outages were reported from Mac Arthur Road to the south, Kensington Drive to the east, Pendleton Place to the north and Comanche Lane to the west, We Energies told us.

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The notice some neighbors received.

A notice on one neighbor's door handle stated that "a power surge may have occurred at this location due to a problem on the electrical distribution system" and listed contact information.

WATCH: Waukesha homeowner Tom Armstrong detailing what he heard and saw last night. Lived in his home for 26 years and never saw anything like this.

Tom Armstrong

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