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Two Unrelated Power Outages Hit Near State Capitol

Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Two unrelated power failures struck St. Paul's State Capitol area Monday afternoon, prompting some state offices and Regions Hospital to use backup electrical sources and send workers home early.

Northern States Power Co. spokesman Paul Adelmann said the first failure occurred at 2 p.m. and affected the hospital. It was caused by a problem in an underground power line. The hospital needed backup generators because NSP crews were performing maintenance on Regions' secondary power line at the time.

Regions spokesman Pat Motherway said emergency room treatment and other essential services were unaffected, but the hospital lost air conditioning, some hall lighting and the use of visitor elevators -- forcing the cancellation of many elective surgeries.

"It was enough of a hindrance that it made it hard to do business," Motherway said. "That's why we asked several members of our staff to go home."

Main electrical power was restored at Regions about 7 p.m. The hospital said Monday night it would resume normal operations today.

The second problem, in a different feeder line to the Capitol complex, flared up about 3:45 p.m., Adelmann said. It cut power and telephone service at a handful of state offices for 45 minutes.

A spokeswoman for nearby United Hospital said a feeder problem prompted that facility to use its backup power line, but patients and staff were unaffected.

Adelmann said Monday evening that NSP crews were still attempting to pinpoint the cause of the problems and restore full power to Regions.

-- Curt Brown

-- (, June 27, 2000

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