El Paso Electric: Arizona Fire Not An Imminent Threat But Blackouts Still Possible

Utility Preparing In Case Fire Reaches Lines

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso Electric officials have been briefed by firefighters in Arizona, and they've received positive news.

Henry Quintana, public relations director for the utility, told ABC-7 flames from the Wallow Fire are still not close enough to El Paso Electric's transmission lines to be considered an imminent threat.

Quintana explained there are two El Paso Electric transmission lines in the area where that fire is raging.

The one that is considered most at risk, the Springerville-Greenlee line, is used by El Paso Electric to carry about 10% of its power. Quintana explained the Springerville-Greenlee line is actually owned by Tucson's electric utility and that El Paso Electric's power supply would not be dramatically impacted should the flames damage that line. The Springerville-Greenlee line is about eight miles away from the flames.

There is another line that's also being monitored closely by El Paso's utility.

El Paso Electric is the sole owner of the Springerville-Luna line, which is about 15 miles from the fire, said Quintana. The Springerville-Luna line carries about 30% of the power generated by El Paso Electric from the Palo Verde nuclear power plant.

Quintana told ABC-7, as long as the fire doesn't spread northeast of the Springerville fire area, El Paso and Las Cruces residents shouldn't see any kind of interruption in their power supply.

If, however, the Springerville-Luna line is damaged by the fire, the utility would likely have to buy power from other utilities and institute rolling blackouts. Quintana said they would try to limit the blackouts to about an hour.

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