Las Cruces knocked out cold

Las Cruces knocked out cold

There are 57 comments on the Las Cruces Sun-News story from Feb 4, 2011, titled Las Cruces knocked out cold. In it, Las Cruces Sun-News reports that:

The sun was cold comfort Thursday as thousands of Mesilla Valley residents struggled with electrical outages, natural gas shortages and burst pipes as an arctic storm walloped the borderland with the coldest temperatures in 35 years.

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DUH

Las Cruces, NM

#1 Feb 4, 2011
This is such a PODUNK state. You plan for the average and not the worst case scenario. The right people aren't held accountable so nothing changes. The telephones in the whole state goes out.(remember a few weeks ago?)911 goes out. Internet goes out. Then you get a little snow and ice and there isn't enough juice to around because you were EPE was playing solitaire during emergency planning discussions. Then whenever the power goes out, Qwest internet goes out because they are too cheap to back anything up. Comcast internet is barely better. When the power goes off, their internet will stay on for 3 or 4 minutes before it to goes belly up.

We don't need any terrorists to cripple this state. We do it all on our own. The governor of Pennsylvania thinks we are just as much of wussies as the NFL! Get a little weather and we fail due to poor planning.

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Since: Jan 10

Las Cruces, NM

#2 Feb 4, 2011
Here is a little something I found at the Georgetown Municipal Water and Sewer Service site that I think those of you with frozen pipes might like to know:

"Burst water pipes are caused by the expansion of freezing ice against the wall of the pipe, right? Wrong.

In a remarkable series of laboratory and field experiments, researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated that the actual cause of damage to freezing water pipes isn't the force of expanding ice on the pipe, but rather an extreme rise in water pressure downstream from the blockage. According to the study, the water pressure can rise in these situations from about 40 pounds psi (per square inch) to more than 4,000 pounds psi.

A typical scenario might go like this: A stretch of copper pipe is exposed to unusually cold temperatures, and ice begins to form on the pipe's inside walls. Since water volume expands by about eight percent as it turns to ice, the ice formation eventually can completely block the water flow. Water upstream from the blockage is able to flow back to its source, such as the street connection. But the water downstream is trapped because the faucets are closed. As the ice continues to form and expand, pressures downstream from the blockage skyrocket. Because this entire section of pipe experiences the same elevated pressure, the failure can occur at any point, even within the heated space of the building."

(Source: "The Physics of Freezing Pipes" by Ned Nisson; Popular Science, Vol. 250, February 1997)
It serves us right

Las Cruces, NM

#3 Feb 4, 2011
"Las Cruces knocked out cold"

for letting a lame company like El Paso Electric generate and sell electricity in our area. We will be paying through our noses for EPEC's incompetence.
LasCrucesMiddleC lass

Delray Beach, FL

#5 Feb 4, 2011
Instrumentation that controls power generation equipment must be winterized. Instruments need insulation, steam tracing, heat tape and/or all three. Unprotected instruments will freeze and bring down power equipment.

This valuable lesson was learned by the Chevron refinery (now called Western) in El Paso back in the early 90's. The entire refinery almost came down one night with instruments freezing up everywhere.

Winterizing instruments that control equipment is not new or surprising information. All power plants/refineries across the country have access to "Lessons Learned" from all other power plants/refineries. Instruments must be winterized!
WoW

Albuquerque, NM

#6 Feb 4, 2011
While I am sort of, ok not really impressed that Ashley got out there and got some reasons, i.e. excuses, as to why the power is failing......wtf? The "never say never," attitude about how this area could never get a cold snap is just uhhhhhh IGNORANT! You would think that the powers that be at El Paso Electric with all their knowledge and degrees could at least say "hey this might happen, let's be prepared and come up with some way to prevent this." So much for "ignorance is bliss," huh guys(EPE)?
E_Smith

Las Cruces, NM

#7 Feb 4, 2011
Unfortunately, I've been putting off the dishes and laundry for a week now of "just another day".
The place I work at tries to run on the "lets hope it never breaks" theory and it doesn't work well there, either.
I'm normally pretty reasonable. I can understand things break. I'm beginning to become suspicious that these things may just be the result of "hoping it never breaks" in order to save money.
Duffas

Albuquerque, NM

#8 Feb 4, 2011
According to Weather Station in Santa Teresa this
was the coldest temperature in RECORDED history for
this area, for FEBRUARY, not just the last 35
years.

Prior to 35 yrs ago they probably had no records.
But El Paso has records for 120 years.

Amazing 3 days. But UK had the coldest December
on record.

Just look forward to 102% in JJAS.
OHHHHHHHHHH its too hot. I like it when its cool.
YEAH!!!

Of course I could be completely wrong by A.Gore
standards.
counterstrike

Albuquerque, NM

#9 Feb 4, 2011
Businesses have not been doing their part to conserve during the EPC fiasco. I have seen practically no business turning off excess lights. The automobile parking lots are still lit up like Las Vegas, the fast food signs are on, closed schools still have the outside parking lot lights on, and so on and so on...
Alex Bumbright

Las Cruces, NM

#10 Feb 4, 2011
Las Cruces I wouldn't be proud of this. This is just ignorance or burying your head in the sand not to see a power shortage in a cold snap. We are at the will of the utility company. El Paso Elect. needs some competition. Here I am trying to get some work done on a deadline and the county and federal offices are closed for three days now. I see this is something people take in stride, but if you are trying to conduct business you are SOL. Chicago has had it's first snow day for kids in 30 YEARS. Get out of the 19 century and off your lazy butts.
load shedding

Las Cruces, NM

#11 Feb 4, 2011
In 1962 when the temps in Las Cruces hit -10F, apparently there was no power outage. What happened since? Poor planning, bad decisions.

Every penny EPEC brings in should be invested in equipment to prevent this from EVER happening again. No Dividends. No raises for executives. Admit your mistakes and stop making BS excuses.

Get a webpage that has actual information and not just your stock price.
Scott Weaver

Las Cruces, NM

#13 Feb 4, 2011
load shedding wrote:
In 1962 when the temps in Las Cruces hit -10F, apparently there was no power outage. What happened since? Poor planning, bad decisions.
Every penny EPEC brings in should be invested in equipment to prevent this from EVER happening again. No Dividends. No raises for executives. Admit your mistakes and stop making BS excuses.
Get a webpage that has actual information and not just your stock price.
I am in complete agreement. I finally learned something factual and specific today about just what EP Electric meant by their generating plants being 'down'. While the weather is certainly historically low the last three days, EP Electric should have the foresight to prepare for the worst conditions at any time of the year. They failed to do so. What should be the penalty? The city MUST take whatever measures possible to tighten its requirements and standards from EP Electric. The city has been MUCH TOO LENIENT AND EASYGOING WITH EP ELECTRIC.

Ten years or so back we had a very serious black out here in LC during the summer. It turned out that a very minor incident near the Arizona border triggered the entire event. Power was out for about a day. Yet, again, there what little penalty, little followup, and few lessons learned from the experience. Could this be related to cozy relations between some city leaders and EP Electric?

Do people actually believe that we can attract larger new businesses to the area when do not even have reliable power, or reliable Internet service (i.e. Comcast)?

I will be calling or writing my city rep and the city manager and mayor on these issues today. Hopefully I will be just one of many!
Duffas

Rio Rancho, NM

#14 Feb 4, 2011
load shedding wrote:
In 1962 when the temps in Las Cruces hit -10F, apparently there was no power outage. What happened since? Poor planning, bad decisions.
Every penny EPEC brings in should be invested in equipment to prevent this from EVER happening again. No Dividends. No raises for executives. Admit your mistakes and stop making BS excuses.
Get a webpage that has actual information and not just your stock price.
Were there 250 people living in LC in 1962?

Is making a profit evil? Is paying educated employees evil?
How does "permitting" work in this state? PERMITS!
So many roadblocks are put in this state that only 8 natural gas sites
are working and there were 30 at one time. But what do I know?
What we have in this country is a lack of coal plants and or nuclear power.
In some areas, even nuclear families are banned.

To some whatever is good for this country is now banned. By WHOM?

Have a nice warm day, but keep your "cool".
load shedding

Las Cruces, NM

#15 Feb 4, 2011
Duffas wrote:
<quoted text>
Were there 250 people living in LC in 1962?
Is making a profit evil? Is paying educated employees evil?
How does "permitting" work in this state? PERMITS!
So many roadblocks are put in this state that only 8 natural gas sites
are working and there were 30 at one time. But what do I know?
What we have in this country is a lack of coal plants and or nuclear power.
In some areas, even nuclear families are banned.
To some whatever is good for this country is now banned. By WHOM?
Have a nice warm day, but keep your "cool".
Probably around 10,000 in 1962.... rough guess.

Making a profit is not evil, and neither is paying educated employees a good salary. However, how much is the CEO of EPEC making? Too much, I suspect, especially in light of this emergency. Somebody should have had planned that the probability of this weather event was likely every 20 years or so. There really is no excuse for this mess.

Rolling blackouts (i.e. load shedding) are not an acceptable solution that should even be considered. Works in Lahore, but not here. We're better than that.
kalaban

Las Cruces, NM

#16 Feb 4, 2011
a good way to minimize possible pipes bursting is to let a trickle of water run through the night. being a north easterner, I know we have water conservation problems here, but that is probably the easiest way for most to handle such problems

just some common knowledge from old days
load shedding

Las Cruces, NM

#17 Feb 4, 2011
kalaban wrote:
a good way to minimize possible pipes bursting is to let a trickle of water run through the night. being a north easterner, I know we have water conservation problems here, but that is probably the easiest way for most to handle such problems
just some common knowledge from old days
Yeah, that worked for us the last three nights. We caught the water in a five gallon bucket for re-use later.
Fed up in NM

United States

#18 Feb 4, 2011
Can anyone give me advice on frozen pipes? The only ones that froze are to my washer. How can I tell if they burst? How can I make sure they don't? How do I thaw them out?
Thanks.
Skeptical Las Crucen

Los Lunas, NM

#19 Feb 4, 2011
So EPEC does not spend the money to update either of their power plants for cold weather -- I've also heard they haven't spent the money on deteriorating equipment. Who should know about this? Who should be regulating the current condition of our power generation? If Shirley Baca was still on the PRC, we might have learned some of these conditions.

I'm assuming that the public will have to suck up the costs of getting power from the nuclear plant in Arizona, that business will have to suck up the cost of lost business, and that EPEC will not have to pay a dime for the fact that their incompetence. I'm sure that so many of the low-wage jobs in this town don't pay people for days they can't work -- this will hit poor people the hardest. And again, no one will be held accountable.

Letting business run amok just doesn't work. Where is the competition? Where is the accountability?

This was preventable. I'm sure nothing will be done to change it.
Fallon Sparks

Albuquerque, NM

#20 Feb 4, 2011
I guess I don't understand why New Mexico has to look to El Paso for any of its utilities?

How about creating some JOBS by making our own city and state responsible for our well being?

We shouldn't be stuck paying out of state prices for out of state service. No wonder our residents are stuck in the dark.

Keep New Mexican interests in New Mexico. End of story.
Seven

United States

#21 Feb 4, 2011
What happened to all the bragging by EPEC that they have the best, most high tech systems in the nation? This is just a bunch of BS. It's politics, plain and simple. Now our city is saying we have'nt enough gas? Come on. What about the gas plant in the west hills out of Mesilla? Can't use the fireplace because of the "low" gas presure. Can't have a real fire due to the fact that those types of fireplaces have been banned in newer buildings. But we can have all the back yard fire pits we want, and all the garbage from Juarez floating in the air. This region is run by gangsters and thugs. F/ck em all.

“Your DQCC Limit is Maxed!”

Since: Sep 08

In Utero (originally)

#22 Feb 4, 2011
Fed up in NM wrote:
Can anyone give me advice on frozen pipes? The only ones that froze are to my washer. How can I tell if they burst? How can I make sure they don't? How do I thaw them out?
Thanks.
Hi S. Like everyone says, let a trickle run...but obviously once the pipes are frozen, it is a good thing to open the line a bit even if frozen, so that the air releases immediately upon getting the flow back so it won't cause an air hammer effect.

If you have flow every where else, other than your washer...if you don't have a heat gun (hardware stores sell them), you can use a blow dryer to heat the pipes feeding into the washer. After you get them thawed, you might want to visit Home Depot, Lowes, or Sutherlands and get some pipe wrap. Just make sure you get some for the right diameter pipes.

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