Triple-digit weather can cause power outages in more ways than one.
“This is the time of the year when outages are quite common. Lots of different factors. One of them is weather related. Triple degree weather, like we’re seeing now can overheat equipment.” said Eddie Gutierrez, a spokesman for El Paso Electric.
And extreme heat can also prompt homeowners to switch their cooling system from swamp coolers to refrigerated air, which in some cases, use more energy.
“If you’re a neighbor and all of a sudden you start seeing a flicker of lights, it could be your neighbor could have, just a number of customers changing to refrigerated air. And that could be a red flag.” added Gutierrez.
El Paso Electric says overuse of energy on transformers designed for swamp cooler use can prompt the transformer to break down, and possibly trigger a power outage.
The popularity of mylar balloons is soaring. Those balloons falling on power lines can also produce a power outage, as can wildlife, like birds, squirrels and cats.
However, Gutierrez points out El Paso Electric is not turning the power off intentionally, also known as brown-outs. He says the last time that was done was in 2011.
Many of the power outages ABC 7 has reported on recently have been on the city’s east side and Lower Valley.
Gutierrez says power outages are not limited by geography.
“Outages are common throughout the city. There is not one area.” said Gutierrez.
The number of customers affected by outages can vary from hundreds to thousands.
Gutierrez says the best thing to do if you are affected by a power outage is to call in and wait for repair trucks to get to your area.
The average time it takes to repair an outage, according to Gutierrez, is 43 minutes.