Kootenai Electric Cooperative (KEC) is monitoring our electric system load during the triple digit heat wave and has put proactive measures in place to minimize power outages during this period of high electric demand. Should outages occur, KEC crews are on-call 24 hours a day and ready to be dispatched throughout our service territory. At this time, we are not planning for any rolling blackouts. If that were to change and become necessary, we would communicate with our members in advance.
How does KEC plan for energy consumption and demands?
KEC uses historical data to forecast load increases on the system and develop construction work plans for future periods. These work plans identify areas where new infrastructure will be needed to meet the growing needs of the membership. KEC routinely designs and makes improvements to the system to deliver dependable power in these growths areas.
What does this mean for members?
With the unprecedented heat wave, the electric system demand in some areas may be higher than the forecasted model which may cause greater electric load than forecasted. For example, on Monday, June 28, 2021, some members experienced heat-related power outages, but we were able to restore power by adjusting equipment settings to accommodate the load. KEC will continue to proactively adjust our system as needed to minimize power outages.
About KEC’s Power Supply
Power that KEC purchases is delivered to KEC substations through an interconnected transmission system owned and operated by BPA and Avista Utilities. Power from KEC substations is then delivered to our members through KEC owned and operated distribution lines. These transmission system providers have requested energy conservation of their customers through Thursday, July 1.
With record-breaking heat across the region, hydropower operators are balancing the Northwest grid to ensure that increased energy demand from all those air conditioners is met with a constant supply of energy. Learn more about this delicate balancing act at https://www.bpa.gov/news/AboutUs/Hydropower-101/Pages/Reliable-energy-Balancing-supply-and-demand.aspx?fbclid=IwAR3Z4PXEm_tGOe5eMeBMhysGeUXvvPkBdEO_FUp4CpS7Cn0IC-6oOpszxUM
Consider these tips to conserve electricity during this time:
Postpone use of appliances such as washers, dryers, and dishwashers until after 10 p.m.
- Turn off lights and appliances that are not essential to health and safety.
- Turn off computers and other electrical equipment when not in use. Game consoles, computers and big screen TVs left on but unused produce nearly as much heat as they do when in use.
- Keep your shades pulled and doors and windows closed during the day.
- Use a microwave oven instead of a conventional electric oven or gas stove.
- Set the thermostat on your central air conditioner to 78 degrees or higher.
- Supplement air conditioner use with ceiling fans and other fans, which create a wind-chill effect that increases air conditioning cooling efficiency.
- Give your air conditioning a break and fire up the grill! Your oven or stove can raise your kitchen temp 5 to 10 degrees.
- Turn off ceiling fans when you leave the room. Remember that fans cool people, not rooms, by creating a wind chill effect.
- Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
- Consider lighting options that operate at cooler temperatures.
Check out these tips on staying cool:
- Sip icy-cold drinks, apply a damp cloth to your neck and other pressure points on your body, or have a cold shower to cool your body without needing to switch the air-conditioner on.
- No air conditioning? A cleverly-positioned bowl of ice is all you need to turn a fan into a cold mist machine. Place a shallow bowl or pan of ice in front of a fan for an icy-cool breeze.
- Use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation.
- Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise. You may not realize that your ceiling fans need to be adjusted seasonally. Set them to run counter-clockwise in the summer at a higher speed so the airflow will create a wind-chill breeze effect that will make you and your guests feel cooler.
- Heat-proof your bed. For feet, fill a water bottle, and put it in the freezer before placing it at the foot of your bed. And it sounds strange, but slightly dampening your sheets or popping them in the freezer before bedtime will majorly help you chill out.
- Sleep low. Heat rises, so hit the downstairs couch or basement, or put your mattress on the floor if the air feels cooler down there.
Outage Tips and Resources
- Sign up for KEC's outage alerts by logging in to your SmartHub account. Watch our video on how to sign up for alerts.
- Keep your cell phone charged.
If your power goes out:
Report your outage by logging into your SmartHub account or on the app.
Or, you can report your outage by calling 1.877.744.1055. Please be ready to provide at least one of the following pieces of information when calling: phone number, account number or meter number associated with the outage location.