Pepco blames a burnt out electrical switch for a Thursday afternoon power outage that affected traffic lights and hundreds of customers in Rockville Town Center, including Rockville City Hall and at least part of the Montgomery County Council building.
The malfunction occurred about 12:30 p.m. and affected a transformer and a feeder line, said Bob Hainey, a Pepco spokesman.
The utility’s outage map initially showed about 800 customers without power, Hainey said. Crews created “field ties,” temporarily tying customers into different feeder lines in order to restore power quickly, he said.
Power was restored to all but about 50 customers by 2 p.m., Hainey said. The remaining 50 customers were restored by 3 p.m.
The County Council building was among the last customers to have power restored.
“I was told 13 traffic lights were out around the downtown Rockville area,” Neil Greenberger, a County Council spokesman said in an email. “Strangely, in the Council office building, about three-quarters of the building was without power, but one-quarter of the building had power. Most of the retail businesses in downtown Rockville seemed to have power when I went to lunch and the Executive Office Building did not appear to lose power.”
Signals at about six intersections lost power, Rockville City Police Chief Terrance N. Treschuk said in an email. There were "no incidents of note" during the outage, he said.
Rockville City Hall also lost power, said Marylou Berg, a city spokeswoman.
“We were out, but City Hall has a backup generator, so many of us were able to keep working,” Berg said in an email.
Rockville resident Susan Prince said power was out for two hours at Cadence Marketing in the Jefferson Building at 22 W. Jefferson St.
Power went out at the Fireside Park Apartments, at 735 Monroe St., for “one second” early Wednesday afternoon, Lauren Rutley wrote on Rockville Patch’s Facebook page. Brief outages are not uncommon as power crews reroute branch lines to different feeders on the grid.
Power in Town Center will be especially important this evening. The County Council hosts a budget forum at 7:30. Rockville Town Square hosts its annual holiday tree lighting festivities at 6:30.