Major power outage hits Moscow

This is the story of what happened to Moscow’s electricity last night. From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

Lightning causes substation damage that cuts electricity over 4 hours

About 11,000 Moscow residents were without power Friday evening after dark clouds of a storm cell passed over the city around 5 p.m.

Electrical service was restored about 9:30 p.m. after equipment was replaced at the Avista substation on Troy Highway.

According to the Avista Utilities online outage center, five outages had been reported in Moscow, affecting 11,111 customers.

Police reported Troy Highway closed at the substation, and officers were requesting traffic control.

A series of fire and burglary alarms were reported soon after the outage, to which police responded and determined they were not in response to any actual fires or burglaries.

In downtown Moscow, cars passed through intersections one at a time as traffic lights remained without power, though most businesses and traffic lights on West Pullman Road as well as Rosauers appeared unaffected.

Many restaurants downtown were also without power. Employees congregated at tables in a darkened Jimmy Johns on South Jackson Street. At Taj Grocery on West Third Street, the doors were wide open to the darkened building, where employees appeared to be busy selling drinks and snacks and handwriting receipts at the register.

At Taco Time on West Sixth Street, employees waited in the restaurant’s parking lot in lime green shirts that read, “We got your tacos,” in celebration of Cinco de Mayo – the restaurant’s busiest day of the entire year.

General Manager Michael Smith said the restaurant had a goal to sell 13,000, 70 cent tacos that day, on which he estimates sales typically increase between 300 and 400 percent. Staff prepare ingredients two weeks in advance for Cinco de Mayo. The typical number of workers scheduled for the lunch shift is quintupled and septupled for dinner.

Around 5 p.m. when Smith said the restaurant lost power, staff started serving as many tacos as they could at a discounted price for cash only, since registers were not operating. He estimates about 5,000 tacos were sold all day.

Staff members were packing up to leave around 7 p.m. A truck with all the leftover ingredients was on its way to a Taco Time in Lewiston to save the ingredients from going to waste.