Wildfire concerns could shutoff power

Sep 19, 2019, 4:18 PM | Updated: 4:28 pm
electricity southern Utah...
(PHOTO: Alaska fire burning near Provo, KSL TV, file)
(PHOTO: Alaska fire burning near Provo, KSL TV, file)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A new public safety measure implemented by Rocky Mountain Power may come into play for the first time.

Customers in Cedar City could temporarily be without service, but the company says it’s for the greater good.

Earlier this summer, a power shutoff protocol was initiated in areas that feature a high risk for wildfires.

Those high risks include things like strong winds, dry conditions, and heavy vegetation.

“High winds can blow debris and objects and branches into power lines,” explains company spokesperson Tiffany Erickson”That often can create a spark.”

Rocky Mountain Power spent the summer meeting with residents in high fire risk areas to educate them on the policy change.

Erickson says about 5,000 customers statewide fall into that category.

At this time, the company has yet to shutoff power due to high risk for wildfires, but current conditions in Cedar City have company leaders considering the move.

“We were looking at gusts thirty to forty miles per hour,” she explains. “Right now we have positioned crews on the ground to do on the ground observations.”

Customers in that area were notified earlier this week about the potential of this happening.

Erickson says this comes after the terrible California Wildfires, some of which have been blamed on utility companies.

“We just want to make sure that our system isn’t the cause of any of those wildfires that can be so catastrophic,” says Erickson.

Following the 2018 Camp Fire in California, Pacific Gas & Electric Company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

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