Raging winds spur power outages

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By Special to the Monitor

High winds with speeds reported at 35 to 40 m.p.h. Monday evening and early Tuesday morning caused scattered outages that affected several customers of the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities. Outages lasted anywhere from one hour to almost five and a half hours.  
Electric linemen with the DPU received their first call at 5 p.m. Monday after wind broke a large tree branch and blew it into a customer’s electrical service connection.  The branch tore the service connection from the home rendering the structure without power.  
Linemen responded and restored power to this customer by 7 p.m.  
Just thirty minutes later, customers in Royal Crest reported another power outage. One third of the homes lost power after a fuse blew due to the slapping of wires. Prior to completing repairs, crews were called to a larger outage at 7:45 p.m. that affected 50 customers in the Eastern area including the Holiday Inn and Pajarito Cliffs. Power from the Los Alamos National Laboratory circuit that feeds this area was interrupted; electric power was rerouted from within DPU power lines by 8:35 p.m.  Crews then headed back to Royal Crest and replaced the blown fuse and re-energized the Royal Crest circuit by 9:14 p.m.    
Partial power was reported at the Pajarito Ski Hill at around 9:30 p.m.  Crews found a large aspen tree had downed two electrical power lines midway to Camp May.  As additional phone calls came in reporting partial power in the Western Area, additional linemen were called in to assist.  Power was restored to the Ski Hill by 1:55 a.m. Tuesday.  
Crews in the Western Area discovered a burnt wire that caused one phase of the three phase circuit to lose power.  As a result, 490 customers experienced only partial power.  As a temporary repair, crews backfed this area with another DPU circuit and restored power at approximately 3 a.m. After LANL restored service at 4 a.m., crews placed the Eastern Area back to its normal configuration.  Permanent repairs were completed to the Western Area Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. and circuits were configured back to normal.