KALISPELL - Authorities have determined the cause of an outage that left several thousand Flathead Electric Cooperative (FEC) members without power amidst the frigid temperatures.
FEC reports that early Thursday morning its wholesale power provider, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), made FEC aware of an emergency shutdown of one of their main delivery points into FEC's system.
This resulted in power outages across Lake Blaine, Many Lakes, and the Echo Lake areas. According to FEC, it's not known when this main delivery point will be re-energized by BPA.
A news release states that "FEC is proactively managing this situation to the best of our abilities by re-distributing power from other areas of our service territory."
FEC notes the extremely cold weather "is creating additional challenges in distributing load across our system." FEC is asking members to help reduce demand until BPA is able to restore its delivery point.
Members in the Bigfork, Somers, and east Flathead Valley areas are being asked to help lower the demand on the system by reducing any unnecessary electric needs as soon as possible.
Ways FEC members can help:
- Turn your thermostat down by 10 degrees or more.
- Turn off your hot water heaters if you don’t need them at this time.
- Delay your use of your oven, washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher.
- Unplug unneeded electrical equipment including Christmas lights.
FEC notes there is not a power shortage and that the problem is a main delivery point from BPA is down. Visit flatheadelectric.com/outage for additional information.
The Co-op notes there are several other outages that are not related to the BPA situation and crews are working to restore power in these areas.
People who need a warm place to go can call 406-758-2111. The line was established by Flathead Emergency Services and has information for anyone looking for shelter.