Portales outage leaves estimated 1,800 homes dark

Freedom New Mexico: Clarence Plank Cynthia Clark (left) and Terry Dawson read a newspaper Saturday while waiting at the Memorial Building for power to be restored at their home. An overloaded substation blew about 3 a.m. and Xcel crews have been working all day to restore electricity.

By Clarence Plank: Freedom New Mexico

An estimated 1,800 Portales residents woke to cold and dark homes after a power outage early Saturday morning.

Xcel Energy crews had restored power to most homes by 5 p.m.

Xcel spokesman Wes Reeves said a substation overload cut off power about 3 a.m. and repair crews had to wait for parts to fix the problem.

Police Deputy Chief Lonnie Berry said the outage affected Roosevelt General Hospital and Golden Acres retirement community. Berry said Golden Acres, Portales Estates and homes south of 18th Street between Avenue D to Avenue I are still without power.

Police and emergency management crews set up a temporary shelter at the Memorial Building.

“Some people have chosen to stay where they are at,” said Berry. “ Seven to 10 people have showed up at the shelter we have set up.”

“Police told us that the power might be back on by noon,” said Cynthia Clark, one of those staying at the temporary shelter. “But later the police said they will let us know when the power comes back on.”

The power outages were dispersed between both sides of 18th Street, Avenues A, B, C and Avenue D.

Reeves said it appears the overload at the substation burned out several circuits.

“The reality is it’s just something that couldn’t be helped,” Reeves said. “There was some equipment that was damaged and we had to bring supplies and other parts in. It is taking longer than power crews expected.”