RESTORING POWER SAFELY and EFFICIENTLY
We do our best to avoid them, but there’s no way around it: power outages occasionally
happen. For most Idaho County Light & Power members, outages are infrequent and only
last a few hours. But when major storms, such as those in December 2021 or January 2022,
impact our area, extended outages are unavoidable.
So, when the power goes out, how do ICL&P crews know where to start working? How
do you know if your outage has been reported? It all starts with a safe, efficient plan for
When the lights go out and it’s safe for our crews to begin the restoration process,
they start by repairing power lines and equipment that will restore power to the greatest
number of people in the shortest time possible.
This process typically begins with repairs to larger main distribution lines that service
a great number of homes and businesses. After those repairs, crews work on tap lines,
which deliver power to transformers—either mounted on utility poles (for above-ground
service) or placed on pads (for underground service). Finally, individual service lines that
run between the transformer and the home are repaired.
We can’t control the weather, but we can prepare for it. ICL&P keeps a supply of utility
poles, transformers and other equipment on hand so we can quickly get to work if there
is an outage. When widespread outages occur, multiple crews will be out in the field
simultaneously working to repair damage at multiple locations. We also coordinate with
nearby co-ops to bring in additional crews when necessary.
A proactive approach to maintenance helps minimize the chance of prolonged outages.
This is why you see ICL&P crews and/or Tree Master—a locally owned contractor we
have used the past few years—periodically trimming trees and clearing vegetation
near our rights-of-way. As you may have also noticed, we trim a lot further back than
we have before. This is to minimize the risk of outages and the potential for a fire.
While we love trees, it only takes one overgrown limb to knock out power for an entire
neighborhood. Trimming improves power reliability for our entire community.
In addition to managing vegetation, we regularly inspect utility poles, power lines and
other critical equipment to maintain a more reliable system. We have tested around 10%
of our poles each year dating back to the 1970s.
If you experience a power outage, don’t assume a neighbor reported it. It’s best to
report the outage yourself. We make it easy. The quickest way to report an outage
is by calling the ICL&P office at 208-983-1610. After hours and on weekends, Basin
Electric Cooperative answers the phones for us. They do this for about 85 other
electric cooperatives as well since they are open 24/7/365.
If you have a medical condition that requires electrical equipment, please let us know,
and always have a backup plan in place. This plan could include a portable generator,
extra medical supplies or moving to an alternate location until power is restored. If you
plan to use a generator for backup power, read all safety information and instructions
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, but as an ICL&P member, you can feel confident
knowing we’re standing by, ready to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.