Outage leaves thousands in Eugene without power

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- A Eugene utility spokesman blames "a catastrophic equipment failure" for an outage that left about 8,000 customers without power.

A large circuit breaker at a Eugene Water & Electric substation exploded Wednesday. Crews had to shut down that substation and another to make repairs. Along with that, says spokesman Joe Harwood, a glitch caused a third substation to crash.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports (http://bit.ly/HPL3ot ) that customers noticed lights were flickering about 8:30 a.m., and the outage was widespread an hour later. Traffic signals started malfunctioning, and officers started directing traffic. There were no reports of crashes.

Most customers were back on line by noon, although some stores at the Valley River Center mall didn't get power until 1 p.m.

Harwood says it will take days to fix the circuit breaker.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com