BULLHEAD CITY—A probable microburst Saturday evening with severe lightning, high winds, heavy rain, and hail caused substantial damage to the electric system and widespread outages for Mohave Electric Cooperative members.

Mohave Electric’s major power and transmission provider sustained damage to their transmission line in the area of Bullhead Parkway and Laughlin Ranch Blvd. The transmission line serves most of Bullhead City and portions of Fort Mohave. Mohave Electric’s subtransmission system was also damaged in the same area with several poles broken.

The initial damage occurred at 7:40 pm Saturday and affected approximately 29,000 MEC meter services. At daylight Sunday morning that number was reduced to approximately 15,000 by rerouting power using circuit switching equipment.

“The storm dealt us a brutal hand. This is the most expansive outage we have experienced in more than a decade,” said Rick Campos, MEC’s manager of operations, engineering, and energy services.

“A transmission provider outage such as this one affects the flow of wholesale power getting to our distribution system. Beside the damaged transmission system we were dealing with broken poles, downed power lines, trees and debris in the lines.”

MEC crews worked together with Arizona Electric Power Cooperative transmission crews overnight and Sunday to rebuild the damaged line which was re-energized at 10:35 am Sunday.

“Getting the transmission system energized was the first big step which restored power to all but 450 meters and then we evaluated where we were with other localized outages.”

MEC is asking members who are still without power to call the outage reporting number 844-MEC-COOP (844-632-2667) and report their outage even if they reported it earlier.

The system in the valley area south of Hulet escaped major damage, although there were some scattered outages in that area.

Tyler Carlson, MEC chief executive officer thanked the employees and members. “We do not want to have outages any more than you do. The system damaged by the storm could have been a lot worse and we will be working over the next days and weeks to restore the system to normal configuration. 

“I also want to thank our members who called in to let us know of problems they saw such as downed lines and locations where they saw flashes from arcing equipment.”