Tri-Cities at risk of rolling blackouts caused by heat wave

Tri-Cities, Boardman, Yakima, Benton County

UPDATE at 4:37 p.m.: Officials from the Benton PUD have announced that Kennewick is also at risk of blackouts caused by strain to the region’s electric energy transmission system. They ask that Tri-Cities community members help by turning their thermostats up and only using appliances/electronics when necessary.


TRI-CITIES, Wash. —Due to excessive heat in the region, Richland citizens may have their power cut incrementally over the next several days because of the strain on the region’s electric energy transmission system.

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is responsible for transmitting energy to Richland Energy Services (RES) and other utility services in the Tri-Cities. On Monday, Boneville informed the City of Richland that it may be forced to lighten the load on its system if it approaches maximum capacity.

This means RES may be forced to shut down power in parts of Richland from a half-hour to four hours at a time.

RELATED: Benton PUD shares tips to keep cool, lower energy bill

KAPP-KVEW’s Madeleine Hagen obtained the following comment from Sandi Edgemon, Business Services Manager for RES:

“Been here almost ten years and I’m not aware that we have done this,” Edgemon said. “We issued this because we want our citizens and our customers to be able to be prepared basically what we were doing.”

At this time, Richland Energy Services is doing work behind the scenes to transfer electrical connections between distribution lines. Officials say that this should have no impact on the community.

It will have an impact on the community if shedding load is required by the BPA. The City says it will focus on maintaining energy for essential businesses and services in instances of rolling blackouts.

To prevent an overload to the system, customers can reduce their electrical usage; specifically between 3 and 7 p.m. when the system loads are highest. By reducing energy consumption during high-usage hours, citizens can reduce the risk of the BPA’s transmission system overloading. If the system were to overload, it could result in a large-scale power outage across the region.

City officials suggest that citizens of Richland visit their website to observe its Power Outage Safety Tips. You can do so by clicking here.

This is a breaking news story that will be updated with further information as it is provided by local officials.

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