Web site features power outage reports

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By Special to the Monitor

  In a recently launched website at (www.losalamosnm.us, click Public Utilities, click “Controlling Outages & Enhancing Reliability”) the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities provides comprehensive reporting on power outage occurrences, mitigation strategies, and progress to date on system improvements.

  “For years, the DPU’s reporting policy encompassed ASAP outage reporting on outages of 60 minutes or more or outages affecting more than 100 people. We will continue issuing media releases as soon as an outage’s cause, restoration, and mitigation strategy are determined. The new Controlling Outages and Enhancing Reliability website adds historical depth and breadth to the reporting already provided at the DPU’s Press Releases page, by including all outage events for 2008 no matter the size or brevity,” said Deputy Utilities Manager for Electric Distribution and Power Supply R. Steve Cummins.

  Also included on the new “Controlling Outages and Enhancing Reliability” site is the DPU’s most recent white paper on factors affecting electric reliability. It describes the plan of attack for controlling outages at a variety of levels:  modeling system segments to better coordinate settings, insulating overhead lines, designing for elimination of splices and live front switch gear, refreshing the database of direct bury underground cable and prioritizing certain replacement activity.

  “There are a combination of priorities and factors that determine the order in which we do things to reduce outages,” Utilities Manager John E. Arrowsmith said. “These relate to cost-effectiveness within our existing rate structure; deploying our electric line crews most effectively; system design and modeling improvements; as well as mitigation of larger system factors that affect the behavior of the electric network as a whole. These include: load transfers to accommodate Diamond Drive and Airport Basin projects, and adjustments for single transmission line operation while Los Alamos National Laboratory conducts maintenance work on the Norton transmission line.”

  All reports are available to citizens and ratepayers by free subscription by joining the Electric Infrastructure Group.  Send email to DPU@lacnm.us to sign up for this service.

  The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) operates the county-owned electric, gas, water & wastewater systems under the jurisdiction of the Board of Public Utilities. The Board meets the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. and the public is always welcome.  

  The DPU is funded by rates paid for electric, gas, water and wastewater services and auxiliary fees, and has provided the community with these services for more than 40 years.  Established under Article 5 of the 1968 Charter for the Incorporated County of Los Alamos, the DPU provides payments to Los Alamos County in lieu of the franchise fees and taxes that would normally be assessed against a privately owned utility. In 2008 the DPU added provision of centralized customer service for the county to its service offerings. DPU’s administrative offices are at 901 Trinity Drive, 2nd Floor.  Dial 311 or 505-662-8333 or email 311@lacnm.us to reach the 311Customer Care Center of Los Alamos County that handles all Utilities and countywide information requests.