Triplicate staff

About 7,500 Del Norte County businesses and residences lost power Tuesday morning thanks to high winds.

andquot;At about a quarter to 8 a.m., a tree limb landed on a couple of wires outside of (the) Smith River Substation,andquot; said Pacific Power spokesman Monte Mendenhall. andquot;That caused a short to a to Simonson, Smith River, Belmont and Northcrest substations.andquot;

Net effect for Del Norters was a chilly, dark hour after a stormy, cold night.

andquot;More than 7,500 customers in the downtown area, in rural areas and up the 101 corridor to the Oregon line were out,andquot; Mendenhall said.

Once crews located and removed the limb, they could re-energize the substations a short process and sent power down the lines.

andquot;There are still scattered outages in the rural areas,andquot; Mendenhall said late Tuesday afternoon.

Preventing future outages isn't really a possibility, he added, because andquot;in areas with lots of trees, we trim them in our corridor rights of way,andquot; but not along the length of each power line.

Pacific Power takes steps to protect its substations, such as andquot;sectionalizing linesandquot; and installing equipment to ensure the substations don't short out, Mendenhall said.

That, he said, prevents andquot;much longer outages.andquot;