Electrical outage temporarily knocks out power for 500,000 in El Paso, Texas

Friday, August 2nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ An electrical outage temporarily blacked out the city of El Paso on Friday morning after a high-voltage line tripped, utility officials said.

The electricity went out around 9:45 a.m. in the city of 500,000 and began returning downtown within 45 minutes.

The outage was caused when power was lost in a 345-kilovolt line that runs between Albuquerque to El Paso, said Don Brown, a spokesman for Public Service Company of New Mexico.

Brown did not know why the line, which is owned by El Paso Electric, short-circuited.

The outage interrupted telephone service, stranded people in elevators and knocked El Paso radio and TV stations off the air.

Police quickly took up posts to help keep traffic flowing smoothly, and backup power for the 911 and dispatch services appeared to work, El Paso police Sgt. Al Velarde said.

Brown said the outages did not directly affect customers in neighboring New Mexico, but the company may experience some fluctuations in voltage as El Paso Electric gets its power back on line.

Raul Polendo said he waited by the window of his business, Lighting Unlimited, for power to be restored.

``It was out. We were out of business. We were out of everything,'' he said. ``We're in the lighting business, so we were out, period.''