MGE: Cause of explosion still unknown

Mechanical failure was to blame for the July 19 explosion and fire at a Main Street substation and the resulting power outage, but the cause of that mechanical issue is still unknown, according to Madison Gas & Electric.

An estimated 13,000 people were without power on Madison’s east side on a day in which temperatures reached 90 degrees.

Power outages extended from the west side of downtown's Capitol Square to areas around the Yahara River. By Sunday morning, all power had been restored.

While power was being restored, residents were asked to avoid the area surrounding East Washington Avenue, East Main Street, South Livingston Street and South Blount Street. MG&E urged customers to seek indoor areas with air conditioning.

With the power out, electronic business transactions were impossible. Given the 90-degree heat, local hospitality businesses might have been the most impacted, as restaurants and grocery stores also had to scramble to prevent food spoilage and hotels found it more difficult to be accommodating to guests, according to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal.

MG&E says it has no reason to believe the cause of the explosion, which occurred at 7 a.m. Friday, was due to excessive usage from high temperatures.

The utility is still in the process of conducting a damage assessment.