Nevada Power left Needles in the dark : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nevada Power left Needles in the dark, service manager says

NEEDLES, Calif. (AP) -- An electrical outage that left residents without power for about eight hours could have been fixed much sooner but for Nevada Power's refusal to accept help, a city official says.

"I'm really upset about it. Especially because we had a crew standing there with the material and everything, ready to put it back together and they wouldn't let us," said Bob Walker, general manager of the city-owned electricity distributor for Needles.

He also said Thursday he found he couldn't talk with Nevada Power officials since then because the key people were to be out of the office until Monday. Nevada Power, an investor-owned utility, sells electricity to the Needles organization.

Walker was talking about an outage that began about 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. He said his personnel had determined within two hours that the source of the power problem was in Nevada, "an insulator that had broken off a cross arm on the 69,000 (volt) line."

His people "probably could have put the whole thing back together within an hour and a half, tops. But they wouldn't let the city of Needles crew work on the Nevada side," Walker said, even though the city owns, operates and maintains that line.

"So then I talked to them and they said they were going to have to send a crew out of Las Vegas," he said. "They only have a couple of journeyman linemen in Laughlin," not an entire repair crew.

Walker said he offered to have his crew help the other crew but still was refused. Then hours later, when the Vegas crew arrived, it didn't have what it needed.

Walker said he had anticipated that and provided the proper material so the Nevada Power crew could go ahead.

Nonetheless, the Needles crew had to "just sit there" until the power was back on, an expensive situation including overtime pay and one that "gives the city utilities a black eye" with its customers, Walker said.

Walker suggested that the city end its contract with Nevada Power for operation and maintenance of the substation in question and that the city take it over since Nevada Power doesn't maintain an adequate crew there. The city owns half of the section in question, he added

-- Martin Thompson (, July 07, 2001

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