- The Washington Times - Friday, September 3, 2004

AT&T; phone customers in parts of the D.C. area experienced disruptions in their service for much of yesterday because of power outages that prevented many calls from being sent and received, the company said.

Customers reported sporadic service problems at “certain points” in the area, stemming from outages at a switching station, company spokesman Ed Bergstraesser said. He declined to elaborate on what caused the outage, where it was located or how many people were affected. Cell phone customers were not affected.

Anyone calling customers in the District, Maryland or Northern Virginia affected by the outage likely heard an “all circuits are busy” recording, or a fast-paced busy signal. Service was restored by 3 p.m. yesterday, the company said.

Power outages normally do not affect typical land-line phones, and switching stations usually are equipped with backup generators. Mr. Bergstraesser said he did not know why power went out in this instance.

The problem appeared to be unique to AT&T;, which meant that most residential customers in the D.C. area did not experience a disruption of their local phone service. Verizon is the major provider of local phone service in the area, and the company said it received no reports of service outages.

Government offices and emergency agencies in the area reported no problems.

“We have a very formalized system to deal with those types of problems, but we did not receive any notifications today,” Montgomery County Police spokesman Officer Derek Baliles said.

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