El Paso Electric is Prepared

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Monday, December 5, 2011 - 7:28pm

EL PASO- El Paso Electric has been preparing for icy cold conditions since February.

The utility company held a news briefing on the upgrades done to its power plants following the February 2011 freeze. The press conference couldn't have come at a better time, as today seemed to be the first day of a coming cold front. The press was allowed to tour the Newman Power Plant, one of the two that experienced severe freezing last winter.

In March, El Paso Electric hired Black & Veatch, a global energy business, to help with upgrading the power plants. The work involved a detailed analysis of the sequence of events leading up to the weather-related outages and included interviewing plant personnel, visually inspecting the facilities, reviewing original plant design documents, and reviewing plant data at the time of the incident.

The pipes, prior to the upgrade, were only able to withstand temperatures as low as 15 degrees. After the upgrades, they are now  prepared for -10 degree weather.

"At minus ten degrees we believe that we're adequate for any weather conditions that we'll encounter so what that means is anything from negative ten and above will be above freezing in the pipe lines that we're protecting, said John Johnson, Associate Vice President of Black & Veatch Corporation.

Some of the upgrades include better insulation for the pipes, new heating cables to warm the pipes and new power stations.

"El Paso Electric has taken appropriate measures by upgrading priority plants that are most likely to cause operating issues in the event of abnormally cold weather, " said Black & Veatch.

El Paso Electric has released a statement that they will be calling in extra crews to handle anticipated outages and any other emergencies during this current storm. Should your electric service be interrupted, customers are asked to call (915) 877-3400.

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