PUD to mail out notices on chances of blackouts

  • Sharon Salyer / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, August 15, 2001 9:00pm
  • Business

By Sharon Salyer

Herald Writer

If the rolling power blackouts in California have left you wondering if they will happen here, Snohomish County PUD officials hope you’ll open the newsletter tucked into your next bill for some answers.

Starting in September, information on the chances of rolling blackouts and how the local utility will respond if they occur will be mailed out to the power utility’s 240,000 residential customers.

The chance of rolling blackouts is now estimated at 12 percent to 17 percent, but even that guesstimate could be reduced when a regional power planning group rethinks the issue next month, said Neil Neroutsos, Snohomish County PUD spokesman.

"Regardless of the current estimate, we think it’s in the best interest of customers to be prepared," he said.

When blackouts were at their peak in California earlier this year, Snohomish County residents called the PUD with questions about the chances of blackouts.

"We don’t want to scare people," Neroutsos said. "But we wouldn’t be doing a service to our customers if we weren’t preparing them for things like this."

PUD employees will test their readiness for temporary power losses in upcoming training exercises.

"We won’t be turning off the power, but running through an exercise to test our plan and make sure it’s refined," he said.

If rolling blackouts do occur this winter, they could last from one to four hours before the outages are rotated to another area, Neroutsos said.

Because the utility is on a two-month billing cycle, some customers won’t receive the information on blackouts, contained in the Watts Happening newsletter, until October.

Anyone who would like more information on the planning for the possible power blackouts can check the utility’s Web site at www.snopud.com (look for the "Energy shortage information" listing under SnoPUD specials), or call the customer service line at 425-783-8300.

You can call Herald Writer Sharon Salyer at 425-339-3486

or send e-mail to salyer@heraldnet.com.

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