Early morning power outages left about 8,500 households in Western Canyon County, New Plymouth and Gem County without lights and heat on this frigid Friday, Idaho Power reports.
Two massive outage areas, both before dawn, kept crews exceptionally busy during unusually difficult conditions of extreme cold, deep snow and fog, communications specialist Julie Stutts said.
The first happened shortly before 2 a.m., when the 69-kilovolt line between Parma and Caldwell tripped, knocking out power to the Parma and Adrian substations and affecting 5,010 customers between Caldwell and the Oregon border, Stutts said. All had their power restored between 3:30 and 4:52 a.m., she said.
Then, at 6:12 a.m., the 69-kV line between New Plymouth and Emmett locked out, impacting 3,393 customers, she said. Most saw their power restored by around 9 a.m.
And another outage hit Gem County around 7:40 a.m., affecting 893 households in the area of the Black Canyon Highway and Big 4 Avenue, according to the outage website. By 11 a.m. all but 195 had power again, Stutts said.
Emmett schools are closed Friday, but the school district office at 400 S. Pine is open, has power and heat, and invites residents whose homes lost power to come in and get warm, a district representative said at 7 a.m.
Widespread outages can lead to short-lived fixes if people leave large numbers of power-using devices turned on during the outage, Stutts said. Idaho Power advises that if your power goes out, turn off all but one light, in an area where you will immediately see it when power is restored.
“That keeps us from overextending the system all at once," Stutts said. More tips and information are available online at the power company’s outage page.
To check on power outages in your area, call the outage line at 800-480-1443. If you have access to the internet, check the Idaho Power outage map.