Hospitals, police scrambled to address power outage issues - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Hospitals, police scrambled to address power outage issues

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – The on-again-off-again power grid crippled intersections throughout the day, cutting power to traffic lights.

Chief of Staff Joe Woelkers says things went dark inside the hospital, at least twice.

Massive boilers keep electricity flowing inside Tyler's UT Health Science Center. "When the power goes down, even for a brief period of time, everything shuts off," says Woelkers.

"If we would have known about this, we would have been in a little better position to prepare for it," Woelkers says.

The hospital's diesel generators automatically kicked into gear. Woelkers says no patients were in any danger, but he though "Hospital Zones" were not going to be affected.

So did ETMC and Mother Frances hospitals, who both lost power twice.

"We haven't had any more disruptions since this morning, so hopefully, Oncor is addressing our needs," Woelkers said.

Tyler Police spent the day working traffic at some intersections, when they found out about them, "We're either relying on officers catching it, or people calling it in."

It was a busy day on Wednesday for Traffic Engineer Peter Eng, "We would love to have the signals on a separate power grid…"

But that's difficult because the lights are so spread out. Eng says back-up batteries are installed at a handful of major intersections, like the Loop and Broadway.

"So the signals always running on back-up power, so when the power's off, you never see a change," said Eng.

If only the same could be said for all the other 150 intersections.

Tyler City Officials say those back-up systems are not at major intersections because they cost about $25,000 to install.

We're told some intersections were out for up to 45 minutes.

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