Shopping centers, hospital lose power for hours Thursday night

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— A power outage Thursday evening left customers stuck in line at City Market, some diners waiting for their meals and police responding to a flurry of alarms at area businesses.
The outage impacted roughly 300 customers in the Pine Grove Road area, including the Central Park Plaza and Pine Grove shopping centers, Rollingstone and Yampa Valley Medical Center, Yampa Valley Electric Association spokesman Jim Chappell said.
The outage was caused by an underground cable that faulted.
Because it was part of a three-phase circuit, most customers lost partial power at first.
"Some circuits would work and some wouldn't," Chappell said. "We were receiving calls from customers saying that it was acting funny."
Chappell wasn't sure what time those calls started coming in, but one person who got caught in the outage estimated the problems started between 6:30 and 7 p.m.
Though the cable fault only caused a partial outage, the electric company had to shut power off entirely to fix the problem.
That caused some inconveniences in high-traffic areas impacted by the outage, but in places such as the hospital, backup generators prevented serious problems.
"Our emergency generators kicked on, so all our critical equipment is working," interim hospital CEO Frank May said.
Critical equipment includes the hospital's lighting, medical machines such as MRIs and in some cases because the generators power a circuit in every patient room TV sets.
The only noticeable inconvenience, May said, was that the hospital's air-conditioning shut down, so it got a little warm in the building.
Power was restored about 9:30 p.m., Chappell said.
The electric company has been replacing aging cables and other equipment over the last several years to reduce the number of outages and had recently earmarked for replacement the cable responsible for Thursday's outage, Chappell said.
Because of Thursday's problem, that cable will now be put on the top-priority list for replacement, he added.

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