Outages designed to prevent big fires | RecordCourier.com

Outages designed to prevent big fires

Western Nevadans are no strangers to the power going out in wild weather, but NV Energy is conducting public meetings on its plan to shut the power off when the wind is blowing.

Around three-dozen Genoa residents turned out for a public safety outage management open house on July 30 to ask questions about the plan.

“I’d estimate between 35-40 customers attended and were able to get their questions answered,” power company spokeswoman Kristen Saibini said.

While mostly focused at Lake Tahoe, the program also affects area of the Foothills in the wildland interface, including Genoa.

Saibini said residents were able to sign up for outage alerts and get information about oxygen and other medical equipment that requires electricity.

She encouraged residents to visit the power company’s web site at NVEnergy.com/PSOM

The power company plans to use weather analysis to determine whether to shut off power in an area to prevent energized lines from sparking massive wild fires, like the one that occurred in Paradise, Calif., last year.

A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service is one way residents may anticipate learning that a potential outage is on the way.

A warning is in effect through 11 a.m. today in Lyon County for thunderstorms and accompanying gusty winds.

Carson Valley has experienced two red flag warnings so far this season and, with drier weather, may see more.

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency spokesman Chris Larson said power lines caused the deadly Camp Fire in Paradise, California. At Lake Tahoe, a tree falling into powerlines caused the 2016 Emerald Fire. To mitigate the dangers of a fire due to electrical equipment, power companies will use targeted power shutoffs as a preventive measure that can save lives and protect public property.

“Customers should prepare now for possible power shutoffs,” Larson said. “Utility companies will attempt to give advance notice when power shutoffs are expected by contacting customers through their account information.”

Larson urged residents to plan for power shutoffs now, including having supplies available for days should a major incident occur.

“Utility crews will need to complete a full inspection of their systems before power lines can be safely re-energized,” he said. “Notify your utility company if you are medically dependent on your home’s power supply and make sure your account information is up-to-date.”