New Mexico

Thousands of Las Crucens experience power outages

Almost 14,000 customers saw outages Monday

ABC-7 looks into power outages

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Update: Thursday El Paso Electric said the outage happened while crews were doing routine maintenance. But Spokesman Eddie Gutierrez says none of their workers are at fault.

Gutierrez tells ABC-7 the substation, where the problem originated, has two transformers. One of them was turned off while crews were maintaining it. He says there was a short circuit with one of their protection devices, which then caused the second transformer to go out. That left 27,000 people with out power both Monday and Tuesday. Some were left in the dark for over an hour. 

“It’s a very unique situation, but while we're doing maintenance you always try to minimize the risk here. So in this case, we are looking at ways to have a better coordination amongst the protection devices as they occur in this particular case,” Gutierrez said.

El Paso Electric says they don't know what caused the protection device to malfunction. They say it could be anything, like the weather.

Original Story: 
 
Thousands of Las Crucens were without power Tuesday night after the utility reported outages throughout the city for the second time in two days.
 
According to information displayed on EPE's outage map online, customers began reporting service disruption around 8:35 p.m.
 
The utility's public relations manager, Eddie Gutierrez, told ABC-7 they are working to find out the cause of the problem.
 
A Facebook message on the utility's page read, "#EPElectric substation crews onsite working to restore power to customers in Las Cruces. Crews working as safely and quickly as possible."
 
Monday afternoon, El Paso Electric reported approximately 13,700 customers were affected by power outages. The utility said the cause was still under investigation. The problem lasted less than an hour.
 
Power outages or a sudden surge may cause problems with some electronic devices. The Energy Education Council advises: 
 
"Unplug appliances with electronic components, such as microwaves, televisions and computers. This will help to eliminate damage to your appliances from voltage surges when the electricity is restored. Wait a few minutes before turning on these appliances when the electricity is restored. This will reduce demand on the power supplier's electrical system."
Residents ABC-7 spoke with say they were caught off guard when the lights went out on Monday and Tuesday.

"I was actually in the bathroom," one resident said.

"(I was at) Albertson's grocery store on Lohman and it went dark," another said.

On Wednesday, El Paso Electric Spokesman Jorge De La Torre said the company was still investigating the cause of the outage.

He said they believe the problem originated at the substation on Bowman and Espina. He says over the past two days, it took some 30 minutes for the power to turn back on. Others, an hour.

De La Torre couldn't give ABC-7 an exact number of how many people were affected, although it was in the thousands. He said the company is putting together a report and we will get more information on Thursday.

Regardless, it caught a lot of people off guard.

"I think it's a little frustrating for everyone,"  Mark Arje, who is currently vacationing here in Las Cruces said.

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