COUNTY OFFICES TO REMAIN CLOSED FRIDAY, FEB. 4, 2011

COUNTY OFFICES TO REMAIN CLOSED FRIDAY, FEB. 4, 2011

At the request of El Paso Electric Company, County Manager Brian D. Haines has announced that all non-emergency county offices will remain closed through Friday, Feb. 4, 2011.

Law-enforcement, emergency services and detention staff will continue their work, but administrative personnel are not required to come to work.

El Paso Electric Company has asked all large energy consumers to remain closed to take pressure off the local power grid. El Paso Electric also asks that all residences conserve electricity tonight between 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., and they warn that anticipated spikes in demand during that period will require rolling blackouts of up to one hour in targeted sectors of the service area.

Because of a statewide shortage of natural gas, El Paso Electric’s ability to generate power has been diminished to levels below those of Wednesday night. The utility expects targeted blackouts tonight to begin at 5 p.m. and continue through 11 p.m. More residents will be affected in an effort to keep the grid stabilized.

The statewide natural-gas shortage also means that residential thermostats should be turned down to preserve the available supply. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has declared a statewide State of Emergency in response to several communities with no gas supply whatever.

Residents who lose power are asked NOT to call the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority on either the emergency or non-emergency numbers. Extremely high call volumes related to power outages curtailed the efficiency of the dispatch operators on Wednesday night.

Residents who lose power and have questions or concerns should call El Paso Electric’s offices for assistance and/or information.

The Emergency Operations Center remains activated, with all relevant personnel on hand and/or on call.

Jess C. Williams
Dona Ana County Director of Public Information