Utility spokesman: Birds caused outage

Blame it on the birds.

That’s what Xcel Energy officials say is responsible for the four-hour power outage in Quay County on July 14.

Xcel spokesman Wes Reeves said birds nesting on transmission structures caused a fault in a line feeding Tucumcari.

Reeves said birds often pick up wire they find on roadsides and incorporate it into their nests. Inspectors found wire in birds’ nests in close contact with the transmission line where the fault was detected.

“We have removed/relocated several unoccupied nests and are stepping up inspections of the line,” Reeves said. “We also are adding covers to some of the key structural members of the transmission poles to prevent contact with birds and their nesting materials.”

Power in Quay County went out about 9:30 a.m. on July 14. The power was out nearly four hours in Tucumcari. Customers in Logan, San Jon and Bard were without power for about an hour.

Logan, San Jon, Bard and parts of Santa Rosa are serviced by Farmers Electric Cooperative. Director of member services Tom Moore said Farmers purchases its power from Xcel Energy but was able to reroute lines to restore power after an hour.