Weather change can mean power outages

DALLAS -- Power flickers and outages are previews to what is to come this winter as stormy weather approaches.



DALLAS -- Power flickers and outages are previews to what is to come this winter as stormy weather approaches.

Residents of Dallas and those who live in the county have already experienced a power outage and several flickers in the first weeks of October.

Dallas Public Works Director Fred Braun said outages are not the norm this time of year. However, downed trees and snow or ice on power lines could leave residents and businesses in the dark during the upcoming months.

"(Power outages occur) a little bit more in the winter when severe storms come through," Braun said.

Doris Johnston, the regional community manager of Pacific Power, said there were flickers and outages Oct. 2 and Oct. 3, and the culprit may have been a turkey.

On Reuben Boise Road just outside of the Dallas city limits, Pacific Power staff headed out to see why customers had lost electricity.

"Thursday and Friday we had some issues," Johnston said. "(Staff) put service back on and looked for the flash to see where the problem was."

Eventually, staff concluded a turkey may have been too close to a jumper.

Dallas has had a history of power outages in the last year. On July 24, John Carrell, the operations manager of Pacific Power, sent a letter to the city apologizing for several interruptions over the course of the year.

"Please accept our apology for any inconvenience you have experienced as a result of these interruptions," Carrell's letter said. "Look forward to improved service as we continue to enhance the electrical system in your area. The improvement work is under way and will be completed by 2008."

Johnston said the company is still making improvements to the powerlines to decrease the number of flickers and additions to substations are being engineered to protect from outages. However, she said there is no timeline as to when the additions will be complete.

Johnston said despite additions and improvements, there are some things the company has no control over.

Jan Mitchell, a spokesperson for the power company, said when the power goes out, customers can call 1-877-548-3768 to obtain a time estimate of when the problem may be fixed.

The company's web site offers information about safety precautions and common causes of outages.

Once in the dark, Braun said to check the circuit breakers and fuses at home to see if everything is turned on and works.

According to the web site www.pacificpower.net, emergency kits with a flashlight, batteries, nonperishable food, bottled water, a manual can opener, batter-powered radio and battery-powered alarm clock are a good idea.

To protect powerlines from falling limbs and branches, the web site said to give powerlines 10 feet of space from trees and other objects.



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