Dec 27, 2010 7:31 PM by Melissa Hawkes
Thousands of Acadiana residents woke up without power this morning, just as people were getting ready for work and trying to grab a hot breakfast. I-HOP manager, Jamal Marhdi, said power outages aren't uncommon at his restaurant in Lafayette.
He said, "one minute or thirty seconds usually happens sometimes because of an accident or wreck sometimes happens. It took thirty minutes and the second time thirty more minutes."
This morning's black out was no accident. LUS Director, Terry Huval, said every energy company in Acadiana was ordered to interrupt their customers' service because of transmission issues. A problem most likely caused by the extra strain on the system because so many heaters were in use.
Huval said, "we received instruction to drop our electrical load. The only way to do that is to disconnect service to customers. We have to power down parts of the city."
It took about two and half hours of shutting down power in different areas, to get the transmission system restored to a high enough level to turn back on the electricity for most Acadiana areas.
The power-down happened as many I-HOP customers were sitting down to pancakes and coffee, which completely shut down the restaurants kitchen.
Mardi said, "if it went off one more time, I was going to close down the store because we took a lot of losses and we can't bring people in ."
Huval said additional generators have been brought into the area, with the hope energy companies won't have to turn off the lights on their customers again.
Energy companies are working on upgrading the area's transmission system, but the project won't be complete until 2012. Officials say once it is finished, this type of black out shouldn't happen again.