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Pasco shrugs off power failures

The county's 911 center received a flood of calls between 1:15 and 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, most of them reporting darkened traffic lights in western Pasco.

Such was the local impact of Tuesday's statewide power outage — many people affected, few major problems.

Some 16,000 customers of Withlacoochee River Electric Co-op lost power, but it came back on in about 40 minutes.

"When it was safe to re-energize those circuits that were affected … our control center brought everybody back up," said spokesman David Lambert.

Tampa Electric had no customers in Pasco lose power, a spokesman said. Final numbers from Progress Energy were not available Tuesday evening, but earlier a spokesman said power in Pasco had mostly been restored.

Eric Heaton, spokesman for Pasco County, said no major accidents resulted from the down traffic lights though officials were continuing to monitor the situation. The Sheriff's Office cautioned motorists to watch for malfunctioning lights and treat them as four-way stops.

Ron Stuart, spokesman for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, said power went out for about 45 minutes in the New Port Richey Courthouse. Officials there needed about 15 minutes to switch to a battery-powered court-reporting system to keep records of proceedings. During Circuit Judge Jack Day's criminal hearings, a stenographer came in to make the record the old-fashioned way.

"We were able to function and work fine," Stuart said.

Three public schools lost power during the incident, district spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said. Sunray Elementary in Holiday and Mittye P. Locke Elementary in New Port Richey were both out for about 20 minutes. Pasco High in Dade City was out for at least two hours.

The school district canceled all after-school activities and evening classes. But that was also in anticipation of the severe rainstorms that moved across the county Tuesday evening, Romagnoli said.

Pasco shrugs off power failures 02/26/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 8:58am]

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