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Pacific Power addresses concerns about potential power shutoffs in rural Josephine County

Pacific Power is working with Josephine County after releasing their wildfire mitigation plan to shut off power in some rural community in hazardous conditions.

Posted: Jun 17, 2019 5:34 PM
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 3:49 PM

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. -- For the first wildfire season ever, Pacific Power says it could be shutting off power to some areas in rural Josephine County as a preventative measure.

The company says this will only be used as a last resort. Pacific Power says wildfires are becoming more frequent and intense in Oregon and any shutoffs would be for safety.

The city of Grants Pass will not be affected, only some rural communities. Pacific Power is still working on making a map of exactly what areas the potential power shutoffs will affect by working with county commissioners to figure out which areas have the highest fire hazard.

"We're looking at things like terrain, where our lines are located and then in the case of an event, it would have to be an extreme weather event that meets several thresholds that would cause us to even consider it. Even then, were looking a few days in advance. It's not expected to be an last minute decision," said Pacific Power's regional business manger Cristina Kruger.

Some of those conditions could be a combination of high temperatures, dry air and high winds.

Within the next couple weeks, they'll be reaching out to customers who could be affected. 

"We don't want it to be anything that makes anyone feel fear or is daunting. If we do that, it's really because we really want to protect our customers," said Kruger.

They plan to give at least a 72-hour notice to customers whose power could be shut off. These outages aren't expected to last for significant amounts of time.

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