Storms bring much snow, few power outages |

Storms bring much snow, few power outages

“We haven’t had any problems,” electric superintendent Jim Wilson said. “This is a good storm, but we’ve faired pretty well with it.”

The single mishap this year was a fuse that blew out at Martis Dam, and no homes were affected.

“We may have had an individual home here or there, but there were no significant outages,” Wilson said.

Last December, numerous trees were blown onto the power lines, but since then, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District has taken measures to clear trees and branches away from the lines, Wilson said.

The PUD plans to continue the work next summer to further reduce the hazards that trees near the power lines cause.

If a downed power line is encountered, Wilson said to stay least 10 feet from the line and call the PUD. Electricity runs through the ground, so it is possible to be injured or killed simply by walking near it.

“I don’t think I could say enough about how hazardous those down power lines are,” Wilson said. “Just because your lights are out in your home doesn’t mean the energy line is dead.”

Strong gusts were expected to continue off and on through the week, so there is still danger of downed lines; but Wilson said he hopes the efforts the utility district made this summer will prevent this.

“It’s possible with the trees so heavily loaded with snow, that it could topple trees,” he said. “It’s the strong gusting winds that particularly cause a problem in this kind of weather.”

Another concern of the PUD during the winter is improper use of generators. When the power goes out, people sometimes plug their generators into an outlet in their home. This causes the energy to back-feed. When the power comes back on, the generator can launch across the room or explode. Electricity can also feed out onto the main electric lines, which is a danger to the men working on downed power lines. A generator creating 120 volts can produce 7,200 volts once it is out on the high-voltage lines.

Residents needing help with proper generator operation should call the Truckee Donner Public Utility District, and an employee will come to the home to help, Wilson said. A PUD employee can aid in installing a transfer switch and making sure the generator is running safely and correctly.

If you have any questions or need help with running your generator, call the Truckee Donner PUD at 587-3896.

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