Kootenai power outage

Kootenai power outage DEFAULT

Inland Northwest power companies report stress on systems. Here's how they're handling it

SPOKANE, Wash. — While Avista is doing rolling blackouts in areas of Spokane and Idaho, other utility companies are making sure they don’t have to do the same.

At the height of the Avista power outages on Monday, more than 9,000 Avista customers in parts of Hillyard, the Nevada/Lidgerwood, Emerson Garfield and Logan neighborhoods, West Spokane, and Southwest Spokane were in the dark.

In an email to customers on Tuesday morning, Avista said many of the people who lost power on Monday will experience "targeted, protective outages" on Tuesday, June 29. They will be targeted during the hours of noon and 8 p.m. and will last for about one hour. Some customers may experience more than one outage with no less than one hour in between outages.

Kootenai Electric and Vera Water provide power to parts of the Inland Northwest. Here’s what they’re doing to make sure they can provide electricity amid the historic heat.

The company said it is monitoring its electric system load and has put proactive measures in place to minimize power outages. The company is not planning for any rolling blackouts. If they become necessary, the company will communicate with members in advance.

A KEC spokesperson said the company uses historical data to forecast load increases on the system and develop construction work plans for future periods. They ask that customers consider conserving energy during the heat wave.

On Twitter, Vera Water and Power asked customers to be ‘conservation-minded’ and use water and power wisely while the systems are stressed. They also offered tips on how to conserve energy.

Vera Water and Power Spokesperson Catherine Cronin said they don’t plan to do rolling blackouts but their system is stressed. She said they expect Tuesday’s demand to be the highest they’ve ever seen. Yesterday’s usage was significantly high as well, Cronin said. They recommend their customers be prepared for outages.

Northern Lights Power has not released any information about what they’re doing to help the strain on their electrical system.

KREM 2 has reached out to Inland Power for more information about their plans.

Watch more KREM 2 heat wave coverage on YouTube:

Sours: https://www.krem.com/article/weather/kootenai-electric-vera-water-power-dont-plan-on-any-outages/293-e4245d01-02a2-461c-ad3e-f03c5c80c7ed

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Avista implemented “temporary unplanned power outages,” otherwise known as rolling blackouts, on Monday as temperatures reached a record-tying 105 degrees in Spokane and put a “strain on the electric system,” the utility said in a news release.

Nearly 5,700 Avista customers in parts of Spokane were without power as of 8:05 p.m., down from as many as approximately 8,200 earlier in the day.

And many more of the utility’s customers will likely see rolling outages Tuesday between 1 and 8 p.m., said Heather Rosentrater, Avista’s senior vice president for energy delivery, during a Monday night news conference.

Avista had plans for high loads on Monday, Rosentrater said, but the system hit its limit faster than expected.

“We planned for this,” she said. “We had the forecast.”

But she also suggested Avista was caught off-guard by the effect the extreme heat would have. The blackouts occurred on a day that reached 105 degrees, tying the record for hottest June 28 in Spokane history, according to the National Weather Service. The record was set in 2015.

“The temperatures that we experienced caused our system to react in a way that was unanticipated,” Rosentrater said. “We saw much more significant loads than we expected.”

Some experts anticipated that an unusually hot and dry summer would likely strain the Western power supply, with Washington expected to see a shortfall of hours totaling nine days.

Two primary factors contributed to the then-anticipated power shortfall, according to a Bloomberg report. First, climate change is making it harder to forecast demand for electricity.  And second, the shift to clean energy is straining power supplies.

Recent data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration identified rising average temperatures in Spokane over the last decade, with July the month that has seen the sharpest rise. The average temperature is 1.2 degrees warmer in July in Spokane than it was a decade ago, researchers found.

Rosentrater said Avista would be better prepared going forward, though the company – and its customers – will have to deal with even more extreme heat.

“We learned a huge amount today based on the weather and the increased loads that we saw and we have a plan for tomorrow,” she said.

Rosentrater said Avista is planning to put in place on-hour outages over the course of Tuesday and intends to let people know ahead of time. She urged people to update communication preferences with the company so they receive notices of impending periods without electricity.

She said Monday’s outages were largely triggered by alarms on the power system that forced the utility to take immediate action.

On Tuesday, she said Avista will have lower thresholds to initiate smaller, targeted outages.

The problem, she said, is not the supply of power but rather constraints on the distribution system caused by heat and a high load as people pump their air conditioners and run fans.

On Monday, outages were first reported at approximately 1:45 p.m. in areas around the Nevada-Lidgerwood neighborhood, between East Hawthorne Road south to East Wellesley Avenue, according to Avista’s outage map. A total of 4,865 customers were affected as of 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, another outage was reported around 3:10 p.m. Monday in parts of West Spokane, stretching from around Spokane Falls Community College to the southern end of Latah Valley.

“As a state and federally regulated utility, Avista is required to reduce electric load on the system when certain system thresholds are met,” Casey Fielder, an Avista spokesperson, said in a statement. “In certain areas, these thresholds have been met rather quickly, and to meet the requirement, power has been turned off temporarily.”

With temperatures only expected to continue climbing on Tuesday, Avista asked people to conserve energy as temperatures are expected to continue exceeding triple digits this week .

Avista is calling for customers to reduce electricity use from 1 to 8 p.m. through Thursday. Similar conservation requests may follow as needed, Avista said in Monday’s announcement.

Representatives for the utility said the high temperatures are straining the electric system, which serves 400,000 customers across a 30,000-square-mile territory in Eastern Washington, North Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon.

“Avista always works with our customers to use energy efficiently and to conserve energy where possible, and we will count on that partnership as we all manage through this heat wave together,” Dennis Vermillion, Avista’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

The Kootenai Electric Cooperative, which operates approximately 2,300 miles of electric line in parts of Kootenai, Benewah, Bonner and Spokane counties, has put out a similar call for customers to conserve energy. The company is encouraging measures such as postponing the use of appliances, such as washers, dryers and dishwashers, until after 10 p.m. and setting the thermostat on central air conditioning units to 78 degrees or higher.

Avista manages the system in the summer months by shifting electricity load to accommodate increased use in certain areas, according to Monday’s announcement.

The utility is advising customers to consider the following:

• Reduce the use of air conditioning and other large electrical appliances.

• Use a box fan to cool when possible.

• Reduce the use of heat-producing appliances, such as dishwashers, ovens, ranges and dryers.

• Keep drapes and blinds closed during the day.

• Use an outdoor barbecue grill.

• Use small electric appliances or a microwave instead of the stove or oven.

• Replace air conditioning filters frequently and make sure central air conditioning units are clear of debris.

Rosentrater described Monday as a learning experience.

“We have not experienced this kind of demand on our system and these kinds of impacts to our system,” Rosentrater said. “This is very unprecedented.”

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to accurately reflect Bloomberg’s report citing reasons for the power shortfall.

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Sours: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/jun/28/avista-asks-customers-to-conserve-energy-as-heat-s/
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UPDATED 11/20/15:  

County Emergency Operations: Many remain without power, no one stayed at Red Cross shelter last night.

The Kootenai County Emergency Operations Center issued the following update and provided additional information regarding ongoing power outages and storm damage:

The American Red Cross opened a shelter for residents impacted by the power outages at the Coeur d’Alene Bible Church, located at 5350 N 4 th Street. However, last night they had no one stay at the shelter. They have heat, power, light snacks and showers available after 5 p.m. It will be open today but they are currently assessing the need to keep this shelter beyond today.

The Kootenai County Emergency Operation Center’s information line will be shut down at noon today.

Local utility companies continue to work around the clock to restore services. Any calls about power restoration, down power lines or power outages should be directed to your utility company outage lines:

     Avista Utilities – 1-800-227-9187
     Kootenai Electric Cooperative – 1-877-744-1055

Current outages:
     Avista: Kootenai County - 6,766, 12% of total services
     KEC: Kootenai County - 5,551 services out

The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners has issued a declaration of disaster due to the damage caused by the wind storm Tuesday night and continued loss of power impacting nearly 8,300 residents in the county. Utility companies are anticipating countywide power restoration within the next 3-8 days.


Avista Utilities and Kootenai Electric are working around the clock to restore services. According to Avista “Over 2,000 residents have regained power in Kootenai County since yesterday”.

The Kootenai County Emergency Operations Center’s information line will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (208) 446-2292.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at 10 a.m. for residents impacted by the power outages. The shelter is located at the Coeur d’Alene Bible Church, located at 5350 N. 4th Street. Due to limited space availability at the shelter, we encourage residents of Kootenai County to stay with friends or members of their family who may have power restored already. Please continue to check on your family and neighbors.
If you plan on using the shelter the Red Cross suggests that people bring:
�‚� Pillows and blankets
�‚� Personal medications
�‚� Books or games to entertain children
�‚� Clothes for several days

The Kootenai Humane Society has advised that they can shelter pets belonging to individuals that use the shelter. They do suggest that people with cats should leave them at home due to the additional stress on them.

Contact the Kootenai County EOC citizen inquiry line at 446-2292 for information regarding the shelter and available space.

Sours: http://www.cityofhaydenid.us/news_detail_T3_R45.php

Thousands still without power

Some Kootenai County neighborhoods that lost power as a result of Wednesday’s historic windstorm could remain dark well into the weekend.

Avista and Kootenai Electric crews that mobilized Wednesday morning to restore power lines and help clear fallen trees were still at it Thursday, replacing downed wires as they bounced from neighborhood to neighborhood.

As of Thursday evening, more than 8,600 Avista customers remained without power in the Coeur d’Alene area. In a rough timeline issued to customers, Avista said some Coeur d’Alene customers could be without power reaching late into Saturday evening.

The energy company also is looking to restore power across the Silver Valley, with over 1,000 still without electricity from Cataldo to Mullan. On the bright side, some Silver Valley residents who were told Thursday morning to expect to remain powerless until Saturday have already seen their lights come back on.

Still, Avista has its hands full, not only in North Idaho but in its Spokane service area.

“Assessment and restoration efforts continue in the light of day Thursday, as additional damage and outage incidents continue to be uncovered," said Lena Funston, Avista spokesperson. "At the peak of the storm, the windstorm matched the speeds of the historic 2015 storm, and approximately 70,000 Avista electric customers were without power.”

That number dropped to just over 45,000 regionwide on Thursday, with 1,600 individual outages reported.

Funston said the electrical system — including both transmission lines and distribution systems — have to be assessed before repair work can begin. While observing downed trees that took out power poles is a usually easy fix in, say, downtown Coeur d’Alene, some power systems can be harder to assess.

“The storm caused damage to both the transmission and distribution systems, with the primary damage involving trees coming into contact with lines and bringing wires down,” she said. “Crews continue to navigate downed trees and debris in the midst of the restoration efforts, as well as rugged terrain in some areas, adding complexity in assessing the full extent of the damage. The continuing assessments and repairs will be time-consuming.”

Kootenai Electric has targeted specific areas in its restoration efforts, sending crews around 15th Street in Coeur d’Alene, the south side of the Spokane River in Post Falls, the north end of Hayden Lake, Harrison and Spirit Lake, among other regions of focus.

Residents looking to get real-time updates from Kootenai Electric’s outage map, however, might be disappointed: Technical difficulties have prevented the co-op from updating outage reports and restoration progress.

Crews from both companies have been working since before dawn on Wednesday, when gusts as high as 70 mph were reported in one of the fiercest windstorms in recent memory.

A Post Falls resident was killed Wednesday morning after a tree fell into his truck near Beauty Bay, forcing the vehicle off the road and down an embankment.

Trees collapsed onto homes, crushed cars and blocked streets, some of which remained blocked as of Thursday evening.

“In addition, we also have a crew responding to emergency [and] hazard areas,” said Erika Neff, Kootenai Electric spokesperson. “We will continue to call in mutual aid and contract crews to help us restore power as quickly and safely as possible. We would like members to be prepared for multiple day restoration efforts. We are not able to provide restoration estimates at this time.”

Sours: https://cdapress.com/news/2021/jan/15/POWER/

Power outage kootenai

Outage Center

The following are some of the common questions (and answers) about power outages:

Why couldn’t you provide restoration estimates? 

Generally, KEC includes estimated times of restoration on our outage map (www.kec.com/outage-map), when they are available. During severe storms such as this one, it is very difficult to make accurate estimates, especially when so many trees and poles are broken.

How do you determine where to restore power first? 

During a storm, crews work to restore power to the greatest number of members in the shortest time possible. In this case, crews worked to restore power to areas without broken poles first as it can take up to 10 hours to repair a broken pole. 

Why doesn’t KEC put all the power lines underground? 

Currently more than half of our power lines have been built underground. Almost all new construction is also built underground. Underground lines can be three times the cost of overhead lines. After the wind and snowstorms of 2015 KEC was awarded more than $10 million in special grant funding from FEMA to convert approximately 50 miles of our most problematic overhead lines to underground. 

KEC is currently working to apply for additional FEMA funding to convert more lines to underground. 

What is KEC doing to keep trees from falling on lines?

To minimize the risk of trees contacting our overhead lines, KEC has an aggressive vegetation management plan. We trim rights-of-way to provide for the minimum clearance distance of 30 feet, or 15 feet either side of the power line. We also ask members to call and report any trees they see close to our primary lines or dead trees that may fall on our lines. KEC will remove trees threatening our lines at no cost to landowners. KEC does not trim service lines (the line from KEC’s transformer to your house). That is the homeowner’s responsibility. We will come out at no charge and drop the service line so the member can trim service line trees safely.

Should I help your crews by cutting trees that have fallen on power lines?

If a tree has fallen into power lines on your property, please stay away and contact us as soon as possible. Downed power lines are dangerous. Never touch them. For safety’s sake, always assume that a fallen power line is live, and follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid touching the downed line with your hand or an object, such as a stick, broom or pole.
  • Avoid touching anything, such as a car, object or equipment, or anyone who is in contact with a fallen power line.
  • Avoid driving over a fallen power line.
  • Trees and water conduct electricity. Do not spray water at a live power line. You can become electricity’s path to the ground if you are touching water that touches electricity resulting in injury or death.

Where can I get updates during outages?

We encourage members to sign up for outage alerts by text or email using your SmartHub account. Remember to keep your contact information (phone and email) updated with us so we can notify you in the event of planned power outages. During large outages, updates are also available at: www.facebook.com/KootenaiElectric.

Sours: https://www.kec.com/outage-center
Prepping in Practice - Surviving a Power Outage

High Winds Cause Outages Throughout Inland Northwest

UPDATED Mon. 10:30 am: Avista has crews all over the region, fixing power outages. It reports about 1,000 hundred people still without power in the Spokane and Kootenai County.

Inland Power reports about 1,500 people in its service area still without power. That includes 1,300 in Spokane County.

Kootenai Electric reports it has restored power to most of its customers overnight. There are still a dozen people waiting for electricity near Post Falls. 

High winds knocked out power to as many as 30,000 Inland Northwest residents Sunday evening as a cold front moved through the region.

Avista reported as many as 15,000 customers lost power, especially near Sandpoint and in Spokane County.  Inland Power reported more than 6,000 people lost electricity, about 4,800 in Spokane County, 1,200 in Bonner County. Kootenai Electric reported it had lost power to substations that serve about 8,600 customers lost power in the northern part of the utility's territory near Athol, Twin Lakes, Hayden, Garwood and Spirit Lake.

The National Weather Service issued a blowing dust advisory for much of Washington’s Columbia Basin. Visibility was impaired on highways and county roads.

The weather service also issued wind advisories for Sunday afternoon and evening for Spokane and parts of Lincoln, Douglas and Okanogan counties in eastern Washington and Kootenai, Boundary and Bonner counties in north Idaho. It issued a hazardous weather outlook for Pend Oreille and Stevens counties in Washington and Kootenai, Benewah, Shoshone and Latah counties in Idaho.

Forecasters say lightning strikes were reported a few miles south of Deer Park.


Sours: https://www.spokanepublicradio.org/post/high-winds-cause-outages-throughout-inland-northwest

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