Mysterious Power Outage Hits 12,000 Nevadans

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A power outage caused by an unusual chain of events left about 12,000 northern Nevada customers of Sierra Pacific Power Company without electricity for up to an hour this afternoon.

Sierra Pacific officials said they were forced to activate their emergency outage system for the first time ever today to stabilize the situation and resume power about four o'clock.

They said they intend to press regional power regulators for an explanation of one of the contributing factors -- a loss of power supply over Sierra Pacific transmission lines to the east.

Residents and businesses were affected in a wide area from Reno and Carson City, to North Lake Tahoe, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain and Yerington beginning shortly after three p.m.

Sierra Pacific says mechanical problems at two Nevada plants contributed to the outage along with the reduced supply over transmission system east of Nevada, especially in Idaho.

Sierra Pacific officials say they have contacted the regional agency in charge of energy supply in the West to seek an investigation into what may have caused service disruptions.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)