Power outages can happen at any time of the year and for a variety of reasons.
When they do, it’s usually frustrating for those who lose their internet service, especially with so many people working from home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A blackout on August 6 affected several customers of Wyandotte Municipal Services. WMS posted an information post on Facebook, explaining that people without power would have their internet and cable TV service restored once their power was restored. However, some customers said they never lost power in their homes, but did not have internet or cable TV.
Paul LaManes, general manager of Municipal Services at Wyandotte, said any customer who did not lose power was not in one of the five electrical circuits in the transmission / distribution system affected by the outage.
“The circuits impacted by the blackout included the circuit that the cable head is on,” LaManes said.
This might lead some people to believe that a power outage affecting the head end is cutting power to all customers, but it is not.
“The building (head end) has a back-up generator,” said LaManes. “Therefore, the internet outage was not due directly to the power outage, but indirectly when the Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) hardware shut down due to the power outage and restarted. It restarted with a recent but not the most recent version of the CMTS software. This is what caused the Internet to go down.
Electricity was cut for the affected circuits between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on August 6.
While storms are a common cause of power outages, that doesn’t seem to be the case with this one. LaManes said a preliminary report indicated that a fault had occurred in a piece of equipment at one of WMS’s substations, which caused the outage.
He said cable TV was only interrupted briefly, so the extended outage was linked to the internet.
WMS is in the process of rebuilding its fiber optic cable / broadband infrastructure, which will be capable of delivering initial speeds of 1G (with expandability up to 10G) throughout Wyandotte. This project also includes moving the head end to 11th Street, from Biddle Avenue in the city center.
Regarding the recent power outage, LaManes said everything was working as it should at the existing head end, although employees are still investigating why an older version of the software rebooted.
“The new head end will also have a back-up generator in place and will be on a different circuit than the downtown one,” LaManes said.