Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Power outage shuts down Cheyenne

Power went out around town today just as I was returning from lunch.

No power at work. Traffic lights out. Called my wife on the cell and no power on the east side of town. Called my daughter, home from school for a teacher planning day, and she was adrift in a house with no PC or TV or microwave. One of my colleagues got a cell call that power was out at the Air Force base and in the rural eastern part of the county.

Very odd.

It was very hard to get news about the outage. Two of my colleagues have Blackberries with Internet access but they came up with nothing. We have a battery-powered radio but no batteries. Our battery-powered weather radio was no help.

I could have gone to my car and powered up the local AM station. But it was parked three blocks away -- three long blocks away. Label me "L" for lazy.

Wondered what might happen if this was a real emergency.

A few minutes ago, found this report on the Casper Star-Tribune site:

Power began to flicker back on throughout Cheyenne at 2:13 p.m. after an extended citywide power outage this afternoon.

The Western Area Power Administration transmission line serving Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power went down at approximately 12:50 p.m. today, according to Mark Stege, vice president of operations for Cheyenne Light.

At the request of WAPA, Cheyenne Light dispatched crews to the Archer substation, about 10 miles east of the city, to investigate the outage.

Stege said that the system-wide outage affected 36,000 of their 39,000 customers.

A media release said earlier in the day, Cheyenne Light also experienced sporadic outages around the city due to weather conditions and ice on the lines. Crews will continue working throughout the evening to monitor the situation.

Wilkerson said he didn't know if other parts of WAPA's coverage area were affected. WAPA, operated by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, delivers hydroelectric power to parts of Wyoming and 14 other Western states.

The power outage shut down much the city during Tuesday's lunch hour. Cheyenne police directed traffic through busy downtown intersections, and many businesses closed temporarily.

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