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At KEC, we work hard to provide dependable electric power to our members. We know it’s at the forefront of our members’ minds and that’s why it’s a core pillar of our mission. 

In late December, severe winter weather temperatures dipped to -9°F in the Coeur d’Alene area. On December 22, 2022, at around 8 a.m., KEC reached a new system peak load of 148,860 kilowatts (kW) which represents the highest amount of energy that our members have drawn from the grid at one time. The previous KEC system peak was 127,161 kW set in February 2022. Overall, KEC’s system performed very well during this period of extreme weather, with only four load-related outages affecting less than 100 members.  Solutions implemented during the restoration of these load-related outages should prevent reoccurrence. KEC did have an intermittent disturbance on a power line during the extreme cold weather affecting approximately 980 members in the Hayden Lake area. Our crews were able to pinpoint the problem to a faulty line-interrupting recloser that has been replaced.

So how does KEC measure and improve reliability? KEC follows industry standards to trend reliability metrics and review our performance on at least a quarterly basis. This includes performing detailed modeling and analysis on the power system which helps guide our four-year construction work plan. The work plan identifies the system reliability and capacity improvement projects required to meet the forecasted load. KEC also assists our transmission power providers (the Bonneville Power Administration and Avista Utilities) with annual system load forecasting and performs a ten-year forecast to provide foresight to any major improvements needed on the planning horizon.

System Loading and Reliability Continued.
Additionally, KEC is in the process of building a new substation to be located on Ramsey Road (north of Boekel Road) in Rathdrum that will greatly improve reliability in the area. This new substation will become the primary source of power to the area between Lancaster and Chilco Roads from the east side of Rathdrum to and around Hayden Lake. Strategic tie lines will be constructed from the new substation to allow us to re-route power from other nearby substations to serve members in contingency scenarios. Substation construction is anticipated to be substantially complete mid-2024. KEC also has several other major capital improvement projects planned for 2023 and 2024 that will directly impact and improve reliability in other parts of our service territory. 

Finally, as you probably know, trees are the largest cause of power outages in our area making vegetation management essential to maintain reliability. KEC regularly trims the trees and mows the underbrush that grows around overhead high-voltage power lines. In 2022, 90 miles of line were cleared of vegetation in the Hayden, Rathdrum, Spirit Lake and Rockford Bay areas. In 2023, crews will continue vegetation clearing work in the Rathdrum and Spirit Lake areas and will begin work in the Hayden and Post Falls areas.