Vulnerable power grid? NV Energy has one of the most reliable in the nation

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - When you flip the switch, you expect the lights to come on. NV Energy says they have one of the highest reliability rates in the nation.

There have been, however, a series of high profile outages that have brought entire operations to a standstill, such as the failure at McCarran International Airport Wednesday.

Planes, bags and passengers all began to stack up as computers and other electrical equipment were knocked out.

A spokesperson for NV Energy says an underground power cable failed.

"It is very rare for something very small to cause a lengthy outage," said NV Energy's Vice President of Operations Ken Geraghty.

Power was restored around 11 a.m. but the delays and other effects lingered hours later.

Geraghty says not all power outages are within the control of NV Energy.

RELATED: Power outages explained: How one small thing can take out an entire grid

The massive blackout at CES in January sent the convention center into darkness for 2 hours. Heavy rain caused a flashover at one of the building's on-site transformers.

In March, the world-famous Bellagio looked like something out of Ocean's Eleven. Power was knocked out to some hotel rooms and parts of the casino floor. A water leak in an electrical room at the Strip resort was blamed for the outage.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, University Medical Center, and 4,000 other customers lost power in May after a bird landed on a power line and dragged down a wire.

"We'll have some pretty wild things that may cause some weird looking outages but by and large, most of our customers, especially in Southern Nevada, if they experience an outage, it's rare," said Geraghty.

Geraghty says the system has built-in loops that will automatically patch power around to keep the lights on and air conditioners humming.

Geraghty says vehicles crashing into power equipment is the leading cause of outages in the Las Vegas valley.

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