Storm snaps power lines

A thunderstorm brought 100 mph winds to the area late Monday evening, causing a power outage in Van Horn and service areas with Rio Grande Electric Cooperative (RGEC). According to the National Weather Service preliminary damage survey post, the high winds downed at least ten power poles, with some snapped in half indicating a strong downdraft or microburst from the storm. El Paso Electric (EPE) replaced power lines and poles to the Rio Grande Electric Co-op substation southwest of Van Horn near Highway 90. EPE replaced wood poles with a steel material that will enhance reliability in the area. Power in Van Horn was restored in a couple of hours but RGEC customers were without power for over 20 hours.

EPE crews had just completed a job in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico when they received the notification of the ten downed poles in Van Horn. As soon as they arrived at the EPE facility in El Paso from T or C, they loaded up their trucks and headed straight to Van Horn.

Senior Vice President of Operations, Steve Buraczyk provided the following statements to the Advocate regarding the incident, “We would like to thank our customers for their patience while transmission and distribution crews worked to replace ten poles that serve the community of Van Horn. Our crews are some of the best in the nation and their commitment to providing safe and reliable power to our customers is unwavering. When there is any power outage, our crews will work until power is fully restored to each and every customer impacted and that is something that you can expect from El Paso Electric linecrews.”


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