Contractors, semi knocked out power

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Austin Utilities crew works on restoring power to Sixth Ave. NE to First Ave. NE after a power pole fell, snapping a power line Tuesday morning. -- Amanda Lillie/

Power outages were reported throughout parts of Austin on Tuesday morning, but most residential areas were running again by 12:30 p.m.

Joe Kroc, supervisor for electrical distribution at Austin Utilities, said the outage affected businesses and residences throughout town, especially in the northeast and southeast quadrants.

The first issues started when a contractor working behind the Paramount Theatre dug into one of Austin Utilities’ power lines, Kroc said.

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“It affected quite a few people,” Kroc said.

Kroc said the swimming pool’s power was restored by about 4:30 p.m., and he added Utilities employees had a long, tough day in the heat.

The Austin Municipal Airport and residents from Sixth Avenue Northeast to First Avenue Northeast lost power when a semitrailer carrying farm machinery caught on an electrical line and snapped a 40-foot pole.

“That caused one heck of a whiplash,” Kroc said.

Austin Utilities crews worked to restore power near the airport, and residences were up and running by mid-afternoon. Crews needed to fix the pole and power lines before the airport had power again. None of the outages were heat related.

—Reporter Matt Peterson contributed to this report.