UPDATE: Power restored in Athens, three schools close early due to outage earlier today

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ATHENS, Ala. – Crews with Athens Utilities were busy Tuesday morning after an outage hit about 9 a.m.  At the start, more than 17,000 customers were without power due to three substations failing.  All power has been restored.

Amy Golden, Customer Relations manager, said phones lit up from callers who lost power, wondering if they had done something to cause the loss.

“It’s affected three substations and a large portion of the county,” said Golden.

The outage was due to mechanical or equipment failure.   “It’s very inconvenient for our customers and we realize that,” said Golden.

Utility crews spent the day searching for answers as to why it happened. “Our crews, they prepare daily for this type of thing. They maintain our system beautifully. But things do happen,” said Golden.

And while getting the lights turned on was at the top of their list; “But more importantly to determine how are we going to fix the problem so it doesn’t reoccur,” said Golden.

Impact on schools

The outage impacted East Limestone High School, Johnson Elementary and Creekside Elementary, which closed at 12:30 p.m.

East Limestone High School officials updated the school’s Twitter account all morning.  Football practice was still scheduled to begin at 12:30, as soon as school was dismissed.

Impact on traffic

The outage caused several traffic issues, and police staffed several intersections but encouraged everyone to treat those with malfunctioning lights as 4-way stops.

This is the second major outage in Athens since Friday, September 4. That evening, approximately 14,500 customers lost power when equipment on a main transformer failed, causing three substations to go down.