The Night the Lights Went Out at the Capitol

Heavy winds temporarily plunged the epicenter of American politics into darkness Wednesday.

It was a dark and stormy night at the Capitol.
National Journal
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Sarah Mimms
March 12, 2014, 6:08 p.m.

The lights on the ex­ter­i­or of the Cap­it­ol went out for sev­er­al minutes Wed­nes­day night, as high-ve­lo­city winds battered the build­ing. Long after Con­gress mem­bers had left for the day, lights in­side the build­ing also began to flick­er, ac­cord­ing to sev­er­al Cap­it­ol Po­lice of­ficers sta­tioned there.

Matt Guil­foyle, a spokes­man for the Ar­chi­tect of the Cap­it­ol, con­firmed the out­age. “High winds in the D.C. area are cur­rently caus­ing elec­tric­al power surges that im­pacted power sup­ply to the Cap­it­ol,” he said. “Ar­chi­tect of the Cap­it­ol staff re­spon­ded to Cap­it­ol out­age re­ports at ap­prox­im­ately 8:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day even­ing and made re­pairs by 9 p.m. AOC staff will con­tin­ue to mon­it­or the situ­ation throughout the night.”

An Ar­chi­tect of the Cap­it­ol em­ploy­ee who was in­side the build­ing after the lights went out said that such an oc­cur­rence is very rare. He could not re­call the last time the build­ing ex­per­i­enced a power out­age but said it was “a long time ago.”

The coal-powered Cap­it­ol Power Plant has not provided elec­tri­city to the build­ing since 1952. Like many Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, the Cap­it­ol now re­ceives its elec­tricty from Pepco.