El Paso

More outages possible as crews rebuild East Side transformer

More outages possible as crews...

EL PASO - Recurring power outages in Far East El Paso the past week have left residents hot and frustrated as El Paso Electric crews re-engineer a faulty transformer they've identified as the reason for the problem.

There have been three outages in the past seven days total. Two of them, affecting 6,000 to 10,000 households last Friday and Monday, can be attributed to a faulty transformer at the Montwood Substation on Rich Beem.

"I get home and it seems like every other day there's no power," said Gabriel Herrera, who lives on Andre Agassi Street near the Montwood Substation, after coming home from work two of the past four days to no electricity in his home. "The dogs are even mad, my son's mad, because he can't watch his baseball games."

Caleb Herrera, 11, a first baseman on his Little League team, missed most of Monday's Home Run Derby on ESPN due to an outage.

"I've been looking forward to that since the beginning of the year," Caleb Herrera said, admitting he's mad at El Paso Electric because of it.

"I can understand once in a while or whatever," his dad said. "But it seems like its been happening too much, too often, and it just kind of seems like nobody is doing anything about it."

El Paso Electric spokesman Eddie Gutierrez told ABC-7 they have identified the problem -- a faulty transformer -- and are doing something about it.

"Our hardworking crews are working as safely and efficiently as they can," Gutierrez said. "It's equipment failure, plain and simple. We have the transformer now that we're in the process of installing it. It could take days still, but we have contingencies now. We have a mobile unit now for emergencies that's currently on standby."

Gutierrez apologized to affected customers.

"It's inconvenient that we have this, but its an equipment failure that we're trying to repair," he said. "It's wear and tear. It's just a piece of equipment. It was its time and we're here to repair it. It's day by day and we're asking obviously the public, we get the frustration, we're frustrated. But we're doing our best."

EPE officials said there is always the possibility of additional outages in that area, especially later in the day as the system load increases. However, the mobile unit is being used as a backup until the re-engineered transformer can be installed.

As El Paso Electric (EPE) works to make the necessary repairs to a substation in far east El Paso, EPE asks the public that has been affected by the recent outages in east El Paso to conserve energy between the hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. until Friday, July 14, 2017.

EPE is asking that customers in the neighborhoods between Montana Avenue (U.S. 62/180) and Pellicano Drive (North/South) and Loop 375 and John Hayes Street/Berryville Street (East/West) conserve energy as these are the customers served by this substation. 

Key energy conservation tips:

  • Set your thermostat to 78°F if you are home, and raise your thermostat to 80°F or higher if leaving for more than four hours. Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature than normal will not cool your home faster.
  • Close interior blinds, drapes or shades to block the sun and heat during warm weather.
  • Use ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate the cool air.
  • Try to save heat and humidity-generating activities (cooking, laundering, and dishwashing) for early morning or evening hours.

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