As hazardous weather conditions develop in Cedar City, power company may shut off electricity

Stock image, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Rocky Mountain Power is monitoring weather conditions in high-fire risk areas around Cedar City and may issue a public safety power shutoff Thursday.

According to a press release, the measure is a proactive effort to mitigate wildfire risk in the face of hazardous weather conditions, including low humidity, dry vegetation and sustained winds and gusts. Current Cedar City-area forecasts indicate power shutoff thresholds for those conditions could be reached Thursday morning.

“Our crews continue to patrol power lines in the area and ahead of the incoming storm, where gusts are predicted to reach between 30-50 miles per hour beginning tomorrow morning,” Curt Mansfield, Rocky Mountain Power vice president of transmission and distribution, said in the press release. “Currently, we are strategically positioning teams for on-the-ground real-time observation to monitor power lines and quickly respond to any issues.”

Rocky Mountain Power is also encouraging customers to be prepared by creating defensible space around their property, which includes minimizing thick vegetation close to residences.

Turning off power during a public safety power shutoff is done to prevent a spark from happening when wind-blown or falling debris make contact with power lines. High winds can blow objects such as branches onto power lines. Once line inspections are complete and weather conditions have subsided, Rocky Mountain Power will re-energize the lines.

Public safety power shutoff events are part of the utility company’s comprehensive wildfire prevention plan, which includes additional safety inspections, upgrades to the grid system and weather stations to monitor for hazardous conditions.

This summer, Rocky Mountain Power introduced the shutoffs to customers in communities where the new wildfire mitigation measure could potentially be implemented. The company held meetings in each of the communities and notified all those who could be impacted.

Customers will receive follow-up notifications in advance should a shutoff event be initiated. For all nonemergency questions about the public safety power shutoff watch, customers and the public should call Rocky Mountain Power at 888-221-7070.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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