Cause of power outage at county jail under probe

EDINBURG — The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office is working to determine what caused a power outage at the Hidalgo County jail on Friday.

According to Sheriff Eddie Guerra, initial indications are that the outage was the result of an IT issue.

“I haven’t had my brief on it yet because I’ve been out campaigning, but I was just told that it was a computer issue that would not let the standard-power or the generator-power power the facility,” Guerra said. “The computer that switches from one to the other went dark.”

He explained that there was an issue with the batteries that run the computer.

“It looks like the batteries were installed about six months ago, and those batteries failed,” Guerra said.

Guerra clarified that the power went out at the facility at approximately 1:37 p.m., but power was restored at 3:17 p.m.

“Basically the doors are controlled by a standard control central control,” explained Guerra, describing how the outage affected the daily operations at the jail. “They open by computers, so we have to go and manually lock all the doors by key. Of course, staff had to put everything in lockdown and shut the doors manually.”

Guerra said that there are protocols in place for incidents such as a power outage. He said that there were no incidents as a result of the outage.

“We did a head count as soon as everything came back up. Everybody was accounted for,” Guerra said. “The only thing that it affected was that (police departments) were instructed that they could not bring inmates into the county jail, and we had to cancel visitation.”