A New Year’s Eve Rocky Mountain Power outage left more than 12,000 Idaho residents without power for more than seven hours.
The combination of snow and ice accumulating on power lines and strong wind gusts resulted in complications to restore electric service to Rocky Mountain Power customers from the Shelley area north to St. Anthony that included Rigby, Lewisville, Menan and Roberts among others.
According to a Rocky Mountain Power press release from Dec. 31, severe weather over the weekend caused the widespread power outages in the area. While service to many customers was restored, new outages occurred the night of Dec. 30 and early in the morning of Dec. 31.
The accumulation of snow and ice on the lines caused them to swing and slap together, which caused an electrical fault that was detected by protective circuit breakers in substations, cutting power to protect customer and utility equipment.
Likewise, the wind was strong enough that it created a safety hazard for line crews working in bucket trucks.
At its height, the storm caused 12,000 customers in the area to lose power. By 3:30 p.m. Dec. 31, 1,500 customers were out of service.