There’s no doubt about it – it’s hot out there. Doesn’t matter if you’re in Spokane, Colville or Lewiston – all across Avista’s service territory, it’s hot. But more importantly it is dry. Every summer we hear about wildfires and the brave efforts of fire crews to save homes and lives by keeping fires at bay. While fires can be caused by any number of things, there is one simple way that we’re trying to help eliminate the threat of fires – and that is by making temporary changes to our operations concerning power lines.
There is a chance when a power line goes down, for any number of reasons, that it could potentially spark a fire. Our system is set up to maximize reliability, so there are mechanisms on most power lines that sense if the line has issues, such as when a tree branch falls on the line. Typically the line tries to automatically reenergize – so power can quickly be restored to customers. You might experience this as a blink or two of your lights.
During dry conditions like this summer, we change how certain lines operate to attempt to limit fire danger when reenergizing the power line. So, as of today, certain lines, typically those located in rural and/or forested areas, will no longer be reenergized automatically. Instead, line personnel may have to physically patrol the outage area before the line is placed back into service.
So, what does this mean for you? It could mean that if your home or business has a power outage, it may be a bit longer than usual to get your power back on. Physically patrolling the lines takes time – but it’s certainly worth it to be cautious during such dry conditions.
We appreciate your patience during this time. We will return the distribution system to normal as soon as weather permits.