Thursday's severe weather caused major power outages across the city of Lubbock. Lightning took out electricity to about 16,000 Lubbock Power & Light Customers. In addition, the lightning also managed to take down LP&L's telephone system, so customers were unable to report their outages.
"Severe weather is severe weather. There's nothing that's going to work 100% of the time, when you have severe weather events, especially to the extent we had last night," LP&L Spokesperson Chris Sims said.
Sims says the phone outage posed some major problems for LP&L, but it didn't affect their ability to help customers.
"We do remotely monitor the LP&L system in Lubbock, so we can see where those outages are occurring, or having problems. It's just, with that telephone system being down, with that lightning strike, that affected our customer's ability to call," Sims said.
However, there were major problems for Lubbock Police Dispatchers. When LP&L customers were unable to reach the company, many opted to dial 9-11 instead.
"We started receiving a lot of calls at our 911 center, and also over non emergency lines," Lubbock Police Public Information Officer Jonathan Stuart said.
LP&L had no phone service from 10PM until 4AM. During that time, the Lubbock Police Department's 9-11 call center was completely overwhelmed by the influx of calls.
"In addition to the normal call load that we would have on a typical day, we had all these additional calls coming in, so it really tied up our 9-11 lines and really hampered our ability to assist with legitimate 9-11 calls," Steward said.
By Friday afternoon, most of the 16,000 customers who lost their power Thursday evening, had their power restored. Meantime, Lubbock Police say the 9-11 situation is a prime example of why one should never call 9-11 unless it's an emergency; they say power outages do not qualify as an emergency.
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