May 24, 2018 500 AM
PRESIDIO, BREWSTER, JEFF DAVIS counties – Multiple AEP electricity outages last Thursday left around 12,500 AEP customers without power in Presidio, Marfa, Alpine, Marathon, Fort Davis, Valentine, and Balmorhea, according to AEP Texas spokesman Larry Jones. The area-wide outage, Jones said, was caused by two transmission lines in the Fort Stockton area being knocked out of service, leading to further losses of a total of 14 lines, which were damaged due to a severe thunderstorm.
The initial outage began at around 4:30pm, which took out power to all the communities. Power was restored by 7pm.
A second outage at around 7:45pm followed, causing outages for around 6,080 customers in the Presidio and Alpine areas. Customers who lost power in the second outage had their electricity restored by 10:30pm. AEP was able to restore power to most of the customers in a quicker fashion due to energy loops, which can redirect power to areas with multiple lines.
“What we were able to do is isolate the outages and restore power to large groups of customers at a time,” Jones said, adding that some of the lines were still being repaired as of Tuesday. “If multiple lines are going into an area, we can reroute the circuits to allow restoration as we work on the downed lines.”
Such outages are not uncommon, the spokesman added, when inclement weather hits rural regions.
“A lot of it does depend on the weather. While we continue to make improvements on the infrastructure and upgrade our systems, it’s not unusual for lighting to hit our poles, which results in outages,” he explained. Though such outages are for the most part unavoidable, Jones said the ability for the customers to go with the flow is valued, as is their workers’ readiness to tackle the incidents.
“We appreciate the patience of our customers in dealing with the outages,” he said, adding that AEP offers outage maps on their website, www.aeptexas.com, as well as through their smartphone app. “Our crews also do an incredible job. As soon as they get the call, they get out there in whatever condition to restore power to our customers as soon as it’s safe.”