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Transmission Lines Still Down,
Idaho Power Asks Customers to Conserve Electricity

by Associated Press, June 24, 2004

Idaho Power Co. officials asked customers to continue conserving electricity Thursday, warning that otherwise rolling blackouts could last for a second day.

Two high-voltage transmission lines one at the company's Hells Canyon generating complex and the other between Oxbow and Lolo failed Wednesday, leaving customers without power for up to two hours that evening and forcing the company to shed 170 megawatts of load. The selective blackouts affected some customers in Ada, Canyon and Payette counties.

Spokesman Dennis Lopez said Wednesday's outages were limited because customers complied with a request to turn off high-usage appliances like air conditioners, washers and dryers, and because the utility was able to purchase surplus power from others to fill the void.

But late Thursday morning he said temperatures were expected to be higher than Wednesday's and that repair crews were still struggling to reach the remote transmission lines.

Crews are using heavy equipment to build a road through the rugged terrain between the Hells Canyon and Brownlee power plants to reach one of the failed lines. The other transmission line connects Idaho Power with the power company Avista. That line is being repaired by Avista, Lopez said. It allows Idaho Power to buy and import power from other utilities in the northwest.

Idaho Power could not estimate when the two lines would be restored, Lopez said. But he said if the lines were not repaired before usage peaked on Thursday, customers would once again see rolling blackouts.

Idaho Power serves over 400,000 customers from Ontario, Ore., to Blackfoot and from the Nevada line north to Riggins.

Associated Press
Transmission Lines Still Down, Idaho Power Asks Customers to Conserve Electricity, June 24, 2004

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