Keeping the lights on has its challenges

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By Jennifer Garcia

Having a reliable electrical system is important for all cities and towns, however, not all cities or towns can say that their electrical system is reliable.

Such was the case for Los Alamos County about a year ago. Plagued by frequent power outages, residents voiced their opinions to council on more than one occasion. Things took a turn for the better, however, when the Department of Public Utilities hired Electrical Engineering Manager Rafael De La Torre last fall.

Since he began working on fixing the county’s electrical problems, DPU customers have experienced fewer power outages, a fact that council and DPU Manager John Arrowsmith acknowledged at the Tuesday night meeting.

“Since Rafael came on, the size of outages has declined,” Arrowsmith said. “A year ago, it seemed like a huge, insurmountable problem, but it just needed some good electrical engineering,” he said of De La Torre’s efforts.

De La Torre, along with Arrowsmith, gave councilors a briefing on the county’s electrical reliability. Though great strides have been made in assuring that the lights stay on all the time, De La Torre pointed out that there are still some obstacles that need to be overcome before he’s completely comfortable with the electrical system.

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