BOISE, Idaho - Rocky Mountain Power is urging Idaho customers to prepare for a possible loss of electric service while crews upgrade its equipment.
The utility said the upgrades are needed at the Goshen substation near Firth, Idaho. This is the same project that was being done when the company temporarily cut off electricity Dec. 4 to prevent a bigger outage. At its peak, that outage left more than 50,000 Rocky Mountain Power, Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative and Idaho Falls Power customers in the dark, some for as long as 12 hours.
"The work will improve the stability of the transmission system but could also potentially increase the risk of a power outage while the upgrades are being completed," the company said.
The construction will begin Tuesday, and most of the work will be completed in the first week of March. The utility said the project needs to be finished before the higher electricity demands of the summer.
"I have spent my career keeping the lights on, and we have a plan that will get the upgrades done as quickly as possible, and make sure the entire system in Idaho is more reliable," said Mark Sampson, PacifiCorp vice president of system operations, in a news release.
The utility assured customers that it would "take every precaution" to prevent an outage.
Timothy Soloman, who is a customer accounts manager for the company, said if a power outage were to occur, it could wipe out power to hundreds of people -- similar to the December outage in eastern Idaho.
"There is a risk for a broader outage like that, but keep in mind anytime there is a risk of outage for our customers, we take it very seriously. We're taking every precaution necessary to ensure our customers are not without power," said Soloman.
Construction should be done the first week of March.