Saturday Update: Power Outages Across Big Bend

This post has been updated. Details will continue to change today as power is restored to various parts of the region. We will update this page as we receive them.

Saturday January 3, 9:30 PM: As repairs continue, AEP Texas reports that number of customers without power has now dropped to about 1,660 in Alpine, Marathon and the surrounding areas. 5,400 people were without power earlier on Saturday.

Here’s what we know tonight:

– Power has been restored to all of the 900 affected customers in Fort Davis.
– The Alpine substation now has power, bringing the number of outages in the Alpine area to around 1,750. Most affected customers in Alpine had power earlier today.
– Most of Marathon (500 customers) remain without power, and may not have power until Sunday evening.
– Two of four major transmission lines serving Alpine and the surrounding areas are still down.
– Crews continue to repair downed power poles in the Sunny Glen subdivision near Alpine. Repairs will likely continue into Sunday.

AEP says while progress has been made repairing downed power infrastructure in the region, “a significant amount of work remains to be done.”

AEP Community Affairs Manager Fred Hernandez says while weather conditions have improved, leftover ice and 25 to 30-mph wind gusts Saturday morning slowed repairs across the region.

“There was a lot of ice accumulation on our lines overnight,” Hernandez said. “On some of the mesas just outside the Alpine city limits, the ice accumulation reached as much as three-inches thick.”

In all, more than 100 AEP technicians are on hand across the region working on repairs.

Progress continues in the more rural parts of the region as well. As of 9:30 p.m., Rio Grande Electric Co-Op reports just under 1,500 customers still without power in Pecos, Jeff Davis, Culberson, Terrell, Presidio, Hudspeth, Brewster and Reeves Counties. That number is down from just over 1,600 earlier today.

Click here for more information on AEP outages in the Big Bend area, and click here for the latest outage numbers from Rio Grande Electric Co-Op.

Saturday January 3, 4 PM: AEP now says power has been restored to most of its customers in Alpine, although about 2,900 remain without power in parts of Alpine, Fort Davis, Marathon and the surrounding areas.

Saturday January 3, 2 PM: Power outages continue to affect parts of the Big Bend region, with around 5,430 AEP customers without power Saturday afternoon.

Power has flickered on and off in Marfa today, but the significant outages have mainly been focused in the Alpine, Fort Davis and Marathon area.

AEP representative Larry Jones tells KRTS that in all, four major power transmission lines serving Alpine and the surrounding areas have been lost since outages began on Friday.

Two lines that were still bringing power to people in Alpine Saturday morning went down around noon.

“Crews have shifted their focus to restore operation of these transmission lines and service to at least portions of the city,” AEP said in a statement.

In Fort Davis, around 900 people were without power Saturday afternoon, and most of the town of Marathon (around 500 people) were still without power.

AEP has confirmed power may not be restored to Marathon until Sunday evening. The company says at least 20 power poles and 40 “cross arms” will likely have to be replaced in the Marathon area.

Around 250 people in the Sunny Glenn subdivision near Alpine are still without power. AEP originally hoped to have it restored by Friday evening, but now says repairs are continuing today, and could extend into Sunday.

Rio Grande Electric Co-op has also reported power outages in the more rural areas of Far West Texas. As of 5 PM on Friday, these outages have affected more than 100 customers in Brewster and Terrell counties, and more than 200 customers in Jeff Davis and Hudspeth counties. As of Friday evening, almost 500 customers have lost power in Pecos County.

Friday January 2, 2015, 5 PM: After days of freezing rain, icy roads, and depleted fuel supplies – plus stranded travelers – residents in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico are facing a new threat: power outages.

Friday afternoon, thousands lost electrical service in the Permian Basin. CBS 7 reports as many as 18,000 Oncor customers were without power, with more problems expected overnight.

In the Big Bend region, power was lost to the city of Marathon, affecting 500 people. Electrical service was also lost in the Sunny Glen subdivision on the west side of Alpine, affecting 250.

AEP Texas originally expected power to be on in Marathon by noon on Saturday, but the electrical provider now says it could be until Sunday before power there is restored. Weather conditions were reportedly slowing down repairs.

Power is still expected to be back on in the Sunny Glen subdivision near Alpine this evening.

Another 600 customers in Alpine were reported to be without power Friday evening. AEP says the cause for that outage isn’t yet known, so a timeline can’t be given yet for when power there will be restored.

The company estimates that about two dozen poles and cross arms have been damaged due to heavy ice. The 20 local service technicians are being supported by 40 additional personnel from outside of the area.

Travis Bubenik contributed reporting.

About Tom Michael

KRTS/KXWT News Director
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