Equipment failure leads to power outage in Aztec

The Daily Times staff
Breaking News

FARMINGTON — Equipment failure and personnel safety issues led to a brief power outage this morning in Aztec, Bloomfield and Pump Canyon.

Rodney Romero, the deputy director of the Farmington Electric Utility System, said the outage was related to an outage that occurred during the night of Nov. 3.

He said the new substation in south Aztec had a voltage transformer fail on Nov. 3. He said there are three voltage transformers in the same area. When the first failed earlier this month, it caused a reaction that triggered a power outage.

Romero said the electric utility suspected a manufacturing problem led to the Nov. 3 outage. The system replaced all three voltage transformers. When the utility started using the new transformers this morning, one of them failed again. Unlike on Nov. 3, the transformer's failure did not cause the power outage.

Romero said the crews needed to access a switch near the voltage transformers. and there were concerns the other two transformers could fail.

"They can fail violently. and they explode in pieces," Romero said.

To reduce the risk to employees, the electric utility decided to shut off power to those lines, which led to a power outage in Aztec, Bloomfield and Pump Canyon.

Romero said the power was shut off at approximately 10:45 a.m., and the longest customers were without power was 25 minutes.

At approximately 11:20 a.m., the electric utility system announced on Facebook that power had been restored to the area.

Romero said the utility is taking a "step back" to look at the substation design and other possible problems. He said it's a new type of transformer that is oil free.