EP Electric: Blackouts Less Likely

EP Electric:  Blackouts Less Likely
Thursday, June 9, 2011 - 3:03pm

EL PASO - The threat of rolling blackouts in the Borderland is less likely due to a change in weather conditions at a wildfire burning in Springerville, AZ.

Winds have died down, reducing the threat of an outage.

The following is a news release from El Paso Electric explaining the latest situation:



Recent reports from the Wallow Fire in Arizona indicate that winds are not as strong as in recent days. The fire line in the northern sector of the Wallow Fire, which is closest to El Paso Electric’s Springerville transmission line, appears to be holding but it is not contained. The fire is still approximately 15 miles away from the line. El Paso Electric continues to prepare for the possibility of an outage of the transmission line.

An outage on the transmission line will limit El Paso Electric’s ability to bring all of the power from the Palo Verde nuclear plant to our service territory. As a contingency, El Paso Electric is working with other utilities to identify alternative paths for power purchased from other providers. It is our expectation that the additional transmission resources and power purchases would be sufficient to meet our load requirements absent the loss of another facility. In addition, EPE is working to make sure that it has the equipment, materials and personnel available to restore and repair damage to the transmission line and return it to operation on a timely basis.

While EPE is now more hopeful its system may not be impacted directly from the fire, if the Wallow Fire line does advance and EPE transmission lines are damaged or threatened, EPE may have to institute power curtailment/conservation measures, which could include rolling blackouts.

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