Drought demands extra measures at WREA

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MEEKER I With the drought conditions and fire danger at historic levels around the state, White River Electric has implemented changes to its normal procedures in restoring power in the event of an electrical power outage. These changes could result in members experiencing longer wait times should they experience an outage.
Recently instituted operating procedures at WREA involving restoration of power are efforts to curtail the potential of fire that may be caused by outage situations such as downed power lines, or other equipment malfunctions. With Colorado experiencing one of the worst droughts in years, wildfire fuels are abundant. A combination of dried grass, trees, brush, high temperatures and high winds have prompted local and state officials to institute fire bans and regulations for the entire State.
(Contact the RBC Sheriff’s Office for more fire ban information)
“White River has put into operation changes in our normal procedures to restore power in case of an outage. These changes are an effort to mitigate circumstances and prevent a potential fire. It’s possible that with these changes the membership could experience outages that are longer in duration than usual. We feel that these extra precautions are necessary given the conditions we are presently experiencing,” stated WREA General Manager Richard Welle.
Under the present changes, WREA line crews are required to complete line patrols, which involve total line inspection, before any open circuit is tested by closing the protection device. This could extend the time necessary to restore power to an affected area as additional personnel could be necessary to complete line evaluation.
“Fortunately, we have not had to locally experience the horrific fires decimating much of our state. Our thoughts are with those people who have lost homes and property and those who are fighting these fires,” Welle said.
“We would like our members to continue to report anything unusual that they see regarding our power lines, especially with the amount of winds and high temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately. Any report of downed power lines, or abnormality with the power lines or related equipment is greatly appreciated. We rely on our membership to continue to report these. We are thankful for the understanding of the membership and hopefully are able to return to normal procedures soon,” Welle concluded.
White River Electric is the local rural electric distribution cooperative. Office hours are 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday with the headquarters located at 233 Sixth St. in Meeker, 970-878-5041. White River Electric serves approximately 3,300 meters in Eastern Rio Blanco and portions of Moffat and Garfield counties. White River Electric Association, Inc., strives to provide its member-consumers with safe, reliable and responsible electric energy and other services at the most reasonable costs possible while remaining committed to customer and community service. The cooperative holds its core values; reasonable rates, reliability, safety and service.