Power outage Thursday affects thousands

Leigh Black Irvin

FARMINGTON — An hour-long power outage occurred Thursday night, affecting residents in Aztec, Bloomfield, Blanco and the Pump Canyon area, which represents approximately 5,700 electric meters.

San Juan County

According to Hank Adair, utility director for the Farmington Electric Utility System, the outage, which occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m., was the result of a failed piece of equipment that recently had been installed.

“The utility has, over the course of the last several months, been designing and installing new substation equipment just south of Aztec to improve capability and reliability,” Adair said in a written statement. “After weeks of inspection and testing, this substation was energized, but not placed into service yesterday for evaluation of the new equipment prior to seeing the load of the system. Unfortunately, one of the pieces of equipment, a small instrument transformer, failed yesterday evening as part of the startup process.”

Adair said the protection mechanisms activated quickly to protect against additional damage. He said his employees will be analyzing the transformer.

“While it’s disappointing that so many customers lost power in our communities, I am especially pleased and proud of how our lineman, technicians, engineers and system operators responded,” Adair said. “Our normal three-person staff was quickly augmented to 12 persons that dispatched to the substations and the operations center. All work was performed safely and methodically to restore power to the communities within, or just over, an hour, depending on location.”

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.