ATC says transformer failed, causing substation fires; state not responsible for inspections

ATC says transformer failed, causing substation fires; state not responsible for inspections
Madison FD

Officials with the American Transmission Co. said their employees have been on site investigating since Friday, when a fire broke out in a piece of their equipment at a substation in Madison.

“We know that our transformer failed, and we are looking at many of its components to identify the root cause,” the company said in a statement.

ATC officials told News 3 Now the most recent inspection of transmission equipment at the Blount Street substation, where the first fire broke out Friday morning, was July 15. During that inspection, employees identified a component that required further review and planned to analyze it this week.

Substation inspections are conducted monthly and are performed by ATC’s Local Distribution Company partners and contractors, officials with the company said.

News 3 Now learned there is no state agency that is tasked to perform inspections on the kinds of equipment damaged in the fire. Companies such as ATC are required to have maintenance and inspection programs and are required to make reports to the state’s Public Service Commission.

The group Citizens Utility Board, which advocates for fair prices for electric, gas and water utilities, is pushing for more information from the utility companies following this incident.

“We just want to find out and make sure that there’s a full review of what happened, what went wrong here and the steps that both American Transmission company and MG&E may need to take going forward,” said Executive Director Tom Content.

ATC officials said their goal is determine the cause of the explosion before the end of the month.

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