Power shortages not affecting local customers
RENO, Nev. – California customers of the Reno-based Sierra Pacific Power Co. can flick on their light switches with no more concern than how much the extra electricity is going to add to their next bill.”Our 45,000 customers in California are tied into the Sierra Pacific power grid,” Mike Smart, the utility’s acting vice president for resource management, said last Thursday. “As such, they’re not experiencing the same problems as those Californians served by Pacific Gas and Electric.”Rolling blackouts that began on Wednesday, Jan. 17 left PG&E and Southern California Edison customers in the dark for up to an hour as demand exceeded the companies’ reserves.The businesses served by Sierra Pacific on the California side of the state line, including banks, stores and ski areas were not affected.”None of our lifts or guest services have been affected nor will they be in the future,” Heavenly spokeswoman Monica Bandows said from the South Lake Tahoe ski resort.Sierra Pacific supplies electricity to Heavenly and approximately 309,000 other customers in Nevada and California.The Reno-based utility’s generating plants produce half of its output and it buys the other half from power companies in surrounding states, according to spokesman Bob Sagan. Mid-term and long-term contracts assure a constant supply without the huge rate increases other Californians face, he said.Sagan said the company had sold excess power itself in the past but was not doing any exporting right now.”We won’t really have that much margin that we can afford to be selling,” he said.Smart said Sierra Pacific’s reserves were more than adequate for its customers’ needs.”Short of an act of God that would bring down our generation, we don’t anticipate any problems,” he said.”Our resource planners and power traders do a great job anticipating our future energy demand and then go searching for the best purchases they can make to answer it.”
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