Power company may cut electric service due to wildfire risk in Summit County
Oct 21, 2020, 7:08 PM | Updated: Oct 22, 2020, 1:38 am
(Homes in Summit Park. Credit: Steve Griffin, Deseret News, Oct. 21, 2020)
SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – Extremely dry conditions this fall have Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) officials stating they may cut off electricity to parts of Summit County to prevent wildfires. However, company officials can’t be certain when and if it’s going to happen.
Representatives from RMP said they’ve never cut off power to ensure harsh weather conditions don’t lead to wildfires. If power were to be shut down, RMP spokesman Spencer Hall said it would be focused in the areas of Summit Park and Sundance and it would likely last only a couple of hours.
Hall said the chances of them turning off the electricity are low, but they aren’t zero.
“With what we saw from the Range Fire (in Utah County), conditions, right now, are dry, hot and when it gets windy, fires can move quickly,” he said.
Crews will be looking for three specific weather conditions, namely wind speeds, temperatures and humidity before they make any decision.
Hall said, “They go into part of an equation, and if it gets over a certain threshold, then we go forward.”
In addition, there will be crews on the ground in those areas and if the wind gusts are too intense they can turn off the power from where they are.
Meanwhile, Hall is urging everyone in those communities to make sure their information is updated in their RMP accounts. That way it will be easier for them to spread the word if a shutdown happens. He also said they need to think about having alternative ways to charge their cell phones and laptops.
He says, “With people working from home and going to school from home, [you need to think] about what you would do if you needed to visit your sister’s house or go somewhere else.”
He also said many people overlook one small detail during a blackout: your garage door opener won’t work when the power is out.
“If you have a vehicle in the garage, the power goes out and you don’t have a way to get the vehicle out, that could be a real problem,” Hall said.