Power outages plague the state over the weekend, more possible

Jun 17, 2024, 5:00 AM

Two men with Rocky Mountain Power work on a power outage. In the article, an expert discusses how t...

FILE -- Rocky Mountain Power workers restore power. (Tom Smart/Deseret News)

(Tom Smart/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Several power outages over the weekend left thousands of Utahans without lights or AC for hours. Even more outages are likely this summer.

“Each summer when we have the first run of really hot weather, there are some trouble spots on our system that tend to present themselves,” said David Eskelsen, spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Power.

At one point on Friday, around 20,000 Utahns didn’t have power in their homes. Over two thousand more citizens dealt with outages on Saturday.

The outages were caused by several different incidents ranging from a vehicle accident, to a fire, to equipment failure. Each outage was cleared after a few hours.

“There’s a certain amount of wear and tear on electric systems that isn’t necessarily visible,” said Eskelsen.

“So when we start reaching our peak use time [in the summer], some of those trouble spots cause outages. And we get on them as fast as we can.”

Eskelsen says Rocky Mountain Power monitors their systems daily, updating and upkeeping equipment, but they are not able to catch and fix everything before accidents happen.

“It’s hard to predict some equipment failure. . . We try to do our best,” he said.

Temperatures are cooling off this weekend, but once they reach back into triple-digits, more power outages are possible. Which is why Eskelsen and Rocky Mountain Power encourages everyone to be prepared now.

“It’s our responsibility to make our system as reliable as we can, and our system really is reliable. . . more than 99% of the time. But when we have severe weather, weather summer or winter, those conditions can create outages anywhere on our system,” he said. “So that’s why we advise our customers to be prepared for outages at any time.”

Ways to save power, money, and help mitigate outages

“There are things customers can do that help the company and also save them money,” said Eskelsen.

Some ways he listed include:

  • Moderate use of air conditioning units by setting temperatures a little higher (around 78 F)
  • Use window coverings
  • Open windows and use fans at night when temperatures cool off
  • Use energy intensive appliances (dryers, dishwashers) in non-peak hours before 8 a.m. or after 10 p.m.

“We really appreciate the patience of our customers during outages, particularly in the hot summer months,” said Eskelsen.

A map of current outages and a way to report outages can be found here.


Rocky Mountain Power confirms a “perfect storm” of power outages across the state

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Power outages plague the state over the weekend, more possible