Friday, August 3, 2012

Keep it warm and light

Valley residents and visitors should bone up on the details of Idaho Power Co.'s proposal to install a second power line along state Highway 75 from Hailey to Sun Valley.

Saying "we just don't like it" in upcoming public meetings on a project that's been in planning since 2007 won't be reasonable. A local citizens advisory committee looked at the project and backed it after looking at all alternatives and at potential consequences to the valley if the single existing power line fails.

The line hasn't failed, but that doesn't mean it won't. Granted, a second line will not absolutely guarantee that the valley won't ever be left in the dark. But having a second line is the belt-and-suspenders solution to keeping the valley's electrical pants up and Sun Valley Resort in business if a line fails.

There's no question a second line is justified. What's left now is to get community agreement on where power poles will be placed and what they will look like.

On Christmas Eve 2009, residents and visitors found out what happens during a catastrophic power outage in Blaine County when two lines that delivered electricity to a substation in Hailey failed. The outage left people shivering in the dark for up to 27 hours.

Three years later, Idaho Power is still trying to get a solution on the ground for the lines that failed.

Electric power is like indoor plumbing. Few of us give a thought to where our water comes from or where our wastewater goes—until it stops. Then, it's too late.

No one can guarantee that the lights will always be on when we need them. There are only ways to increase the likelihood.

A second line from Hailey to Ketchum is one of them.

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