Birds and power lines don’t mix


The introduction of the jet engine on commercial aircraft was quite welcomed in the aviation world and for the travelling public. Jet engines were quieter, they could fly much faster than propellers and they were generally deemed safer.

That is — until a flock of birds crashed into one or more of the engines. Birds have always been a nuisance to commercial airline pilots and to airport managers. When birds are sucked into a jet engine’s blades, it can mean disaster if a pilot is unable to immediately return to the airport to make an emergency landing.

Apparently, birds also like electric power lines.


On Tuesday morning, around shortly before 8 a.m., there was a loud sizzling noise that grew louder and subequently, several very loud popping sounds occurred, and then the Windstream Communications power generator came on. The generator coming on automatically is a sure sign of a power outage in town.

“When I arrived at the office shortly after 8 a.m., I noticed that the overhead fluorescent lights were dim, and some were not even on,” said Robert Morales. “I was glad to see that there was electricity in the office, but our backup battery was on which told me that there was not enough voltage coming in. I continued to work with my backup power until about 9:15, when full power was restored. That’s when I tried to turn on the air conditioning, and the unit wouldn’t come on.”

The Advocate submitted an email to El Paso Electric asking for an explanation of what had taken place.  The first email from El Paso Electric stated that it was an “underground outage that had been reported at 7:30 a.m.” The official said the outage had affected about 215 customers.

Another email was submitted later in the day to El Paso Electric providing details about a possible brownout outage because of the flickering lights in the office and insufficient power to turn on the computers without a backup battery.

The official said that “two birds got into our electrical system” that caused the outage. According to the representative, about 306 customers were affected.


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