Print Power outage closes store
Written by Lu Stitt   
Wednesday, 18 June 2008 12:33

A power outage at Wal-Mart Sunday sent several customers away from the Cottonwood supercenter without their purchases.

The power went down around 5:10 p.m. Sunday, June 15. The outage lasted for about two hours, until APS returned the power around 7 p.m. Meanwhile, employees ushered customers out of the doors and scrambled to cover the refrigerated cases in the grocery section.

“It caused us big problems here. We had to close the store down,” Store Manager Jason Ferris said.

As near as could be figured, Ferris said the problem was something with the store’s electrical box.

“APS couldn’t explain it. It could have been a number of things,” he said
Gari Basham, with APS, said that when their representative looked at the metering equipment at the back of the building, the box was unlocked. He found the main switch had been tripped, which shut off the power to the entire building.

“It was like somebody just shut it off. We could find no reason for the breaker to have tripped. There was no storm, nor excessive heat,” Basham, who was inside the Wal-Mart when the power went out, he said.

He did say the serviceman told him while he was working he saw two teenage boys sitting on the guardrail above the equipment drinking soda pop and watching him, but did not think anything of it at the time.

“It was curious to have those two boys sitting there watching,” Basham said.

The serviceman fitted the equipment with an APS lock and Wal-Mart attached its own lock.

“Even small companies need to secure their service equipment. We don’t want this to happen again,” Basham said.

While APS worked on the power supply, the open refrigeration cases inside the store, like dairy and meats, were covered with plastic and cardboard to keep the cool in, and the doors on the freezer cases were kept closed.

“We do training in how to do this quickly in case the power shuts down. When those cases are covered like that, they last approximately four hours. On the freezers, we couldn’t let our customers open them so we had to kick them out,” Ferris said.

After the power returned, Ferris said, the employees checked the food in all of the cases and it was still cold enough.

“There was no product loss — just loss of sales and inconvenience to our customers,” Ferris said.

He was not sure exactly how many customers were in the store at the time. The store reopened a few minutes after the power was restored.

Lu Stitt can be reached at 634-8551 or e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it