Power outages strike Portales

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — A series of small power outages inconvenienced several Portales residents Wednesday afternoon, but officials reported no accidents or injuries.

The blackouts, ranging from about 30 seconds to three minutes in length, hit the area for a two-hour stretch starting at about 1:30 p.m.

Wade Whitehead, a coordinator for Xcel Energy in Clovis, said that a line fuse went out, and the outages happened when a substation’s system tried to overcompensate for the loss of the fuse.

“(The fuse) could have been weak from the storms we’ve been having,” Whitehead said.

Portales Fire Marshall Mike Running said that emergency systems were unaffected for the fire department. The Portales Police Department had a few responsibilities, but had no real problems.

“A few alarm problems have come up from it, but not much else,” Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said.

Berry said that in extended blackout periods, officer duties may include monitoring traffic at light stops without power.

“Any time there’s an extended outage, we have to put on a higher alert,” Running said. “We all get on the same page (with other law enforcement offices) if it’s going to affect 911 (calls) … (or) if we have to work off a (radio) frequency that works off of a generator.”

A few businesses, needing power to operate phone systems and other electronics necessary to do business, were closed for a short period of time.

Not all areas in Portales had to deal with the problem, though. When contacted for comment, managers at the Wal-Mart department store said their building was unaffected.