Arizona forest fire could bring rolling blackouts to El Paso area

Arizona forest fire could bring rolling blackouts to El Paso area

08 June 2011

published by www.istockanalyst.com         


USA — El Paso Electric may have to resort to rolling blackouts in the El Paso-Las Cruces area in coming days if a raging forest fire in Arizona reaches two transmission lines that carry power from the Palo Verde nuclear power plant, the company reported Tuesday.

The Wallow fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona is expected to reach the transmission lines near Springerville, Ariz., in the next three days, if it continues to move at its current speed, the company reported in a news release.

The blaze, the second-largest in Arizona history, has burned 486 square miles of ponderosa pine forest since it

began May 29.

El Paso Electric may have to curtail power or take power conservation measures if the transmission lines are “compromised or damaged as a result of the fires or other threats,” the company reported.

“Some of those measures may include rolling blackouts,” the company statement reads.

The transmission lines carry about 40 percent of El Paso Electric’s generated power. The lines also carry power to other utilities, the company reported.

“El Paso Electric has begun to make adjustments in its system to lessen the impact to customers if the lines are adversely affected by the wildfires,” the company statement reads.

The company will inform customers, government agencies, and the news media if power curtailment becomes necessary, according to the statement.


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