Something y'all need to realize about an outage of this magnitude ....
Purely speculation, but this comes with some knowledge of distribution infrastructure.
Something the size of ATL is a HUGE consumer ... bigger than some large towns.
You feed that from multiple HV sources, and have switching (really, really big switches) that can jump between alternate main feed sources on site (e.g., on property).
This HV then downsteps to smaller (but still massive) circuits for each major onsite consumer (ie, a terminal/concourse building), and from there stepdowns for distribution within, down to, eventually, the outlet you plug your phone charger into.
There are a few critical things here :
1) when main feeder electrical gear goes up, the energies involved basically guarantee it will be catastrophic. Google "arc flash explosion". THAT level of catastrophic.
2) When this happens, there can be overvoltage/overcurrent surges all through the system downstream, which can cause breakers to blow to protect the downstream systems. That's probably your smoke sources ... When breakers of that size trip, it's ... Energetic. Very, very energetic.
3) When repowering something this massive, you don't just plug it in and throw a switch. The repowering process has to be done in a deliberate manner to avoid surges and other issues that could take the system right back down again.
4) anything damaged from 2) also has to be repaired.
This is going to be a long, long process.
I will also add that utility distribution equipment of this size and magnitude is very highly robust and reliable.
It's quite rare for it to fail, but it DOES, like anything man-made, occasionally fail. Very rarely, but it does fail.
Last edited by litz
on Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.