Broken power pole caused 4 hour blackout

Friday's outage affected from Valle to Canyon

A freak windstorm in Valle last Friday snapped a utility pole supporting a 69,000-volt utility line, cutting power from north of Howard Mesa to Desert View for about four hours.

"That pole carried the main feed that is responsible for everything north of Williams," said Don Keil of Arizona Public Service.

The pole was located about two miles south of Valle, at milepost 210 on Route 64. Power went out at about 2:40 p.m. and was restored at around 6:50 p.m. Power was restored everywhere simultaneously.

Keil said that he was able to respond quickly as he happened to be in Valle at the time. Five minutes after the windstorm came through he received a call notifying him there was no power in the park. At the same time, a Valle resident came out of his house to say he was without power as well. Keil said the problem was located within 20 minutes, and a crew was called in from Flagstaff.

Fixing it, however, took longer. The cedar pole could not be replaced until Saturday so a line truck was used to truss up the wires until then.

Keil said that the poles in the area were checked for stability about four years ago using core samples.

"I think the wind just changed direction quickly and put tension on the wires," he said. "It just broke the pole off."

Most businesses were closed due to the outage, but Xanterra kept Maswik, Yavapai and Bright Angel cafeterias open, serving cold food according to general manager Jon Streit. Also, because of the outage, guests could not use slide cards to access their rooms and had to be provided with keys instead.

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