Blackout for Most of Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/23/02

Blackout for Most of Lubbock

It was a dark night in Lubbock and chances are you were affected by Monday nights power outage. A dry lightning storm on the South Plains caused a black out for 72% of Lubbock. The power outage lasted a little more than an hour, and during that time, police and other city officials were out in full force manning the city.

It happened at about 10:30 Monday night according to Lubbock Power & Light Director Paul Thompson lightning struck a transmission line that systematically shut down the City of Lubbock.

Minutes after the blackout Lubbock Police Officers took to the streets, directing traffic at major intersections across town because none of the signals were working. The Police Department responded to more than 200 calls, mostly false alarms, and a few accidents. They also sent an officer to Lubbock's hot spot, the Depot District where bars were afraid to let their customers go.

Hub City Brewery Manager Tom Reed said all the tabs were in the computer, and they were risking losing a lot of money. "We kept them for a little while cause I wasn't sure what we were suppose to do, but Lubbock Police said we were not allowed to do that we had to let everyone go. Well we'll probably lose some money tonight there's nothing we can do just hope the power comes back on in time to save some of our business," said Tom Reed Hub City Manager.

Customers didn't really know what to think of the darkness either.

"The lights started flickering and we didn't really know what was happening and all of a sudden the power went out," one customer said.

"It kinda happened in slow motion one thing went out then another then boom darkness," another customer said.

The crowd quickly migrated to the only bar in the Depot District that still had power, Whiskey River. "I was on the phone with the bartender and he told me 30 people walked in the door," Whiskey River Manager Matt McMahon said.

So for a while things in that part of town were in disarray, but overall LP&L Director Paul Thompson says things went smoothly. "What we had to do was open up all of out breakers and substations and get our transmission lines back in working order then systematically closing all the breakers. At some point every LP&L customer lost power. Some customers had back-up feeds T.V. stations, hospitals so they had electricity."

The lights came on slowly across town, some people were in the dark for only 20 minutes while others were dark just more than an hour. Thompson says their backup system worked as planned and was thankful this happened during the night not affecting as many people.

Police officers on the late shift stayed until everything calmed down.

As for the bar scene, Hub City Manager Tom Reed says they probably lost about $3000 due to the power outage.

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