Allen neighborhood hit by rash of power outages

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on July 26, 2010 at 9:49 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 26 at 11:59 PM

Power problems

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ALLEN — Residents of a Collin County neighborhood say they're powerless; they never know when the lights will go out again.

One homeowner in Allen's Fountain Gate community says they average one power outage every month. Another says blackouts have been common here for more than a decade.

Chad Preston still hasn't reset the clock on his oven since the last power outage. It reads "PF" for power failure.

"There's no warning; it just happens," Preston said.

Homeowners said they expect the power to occasionally go out during bad weather, but not during perfect weather. "It was about 10 o'clock in the morning. I don't think there were even any clouds in the sky. And then, the power just went out," said Bev Carlsen-Landy, who lives in the neighborhood.

The power outages can last just a few minutes or extend for several hours.

"When you come home and you know it's been out, that's when we worry more than ever, because we don't know how long it's been out," Carlsen-Landy said. "We don’t know how long the refrigerator's been off."

Oncor officials say in the last year, there have been five documented power outages in the neighborhood; three of them were weather-related. The others were triggered by a fire and an accident. Oncor was unable to supply information about earlier incidents.

But Gary Shastid's memory goes back farther. "I’ve lived here for 11 years, and it pretty much happens on a frequent basis," he said.

Shastid believes something is amiss. "I just don't see how I could live here 11 years and just have constant power outages," he said. "Clocks are flashing and everything showing a power failure. It just doesn't seem right."

Oncor officials say most power outages in North Texas have good explanations. Many are caused by trees coming in contact with lines. They urge homeowners to call the number on their power bill any time the lights go out. Call 911 to report downed electric lines.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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