LAS CRUCES, N.M. - 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 and . 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.
"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.