Wildfire threatens key California power lines

Wildfire threatens keyCalifornia power lines

27 June 2008

published by www.reuters.com

USA — Wildfires in Northern California caused major power lines to tripoff-line on Friday afternoon, and the state power grid manager restrictedmaintenance work by utilities for the rest of the day, said the CaliforniaIndependent System Operator.

Two of the three 500-kilovolt lines on the California-Oregon Intertie weretaken off-line automatically when fires and smoke caused them to arch. Whilethey returned to service, they were flowing at a reduced rate of about 2,200megawatts late Friday afternoon.

The lines have a capacity to carry 4,800 MW, and generally carry a littleless than that at peak periods.

At full capacity, the lines can carry enough electricity to power about 3million homes.

Gregg Fishman, spokesman for the Cal ISO, said the grid manager along withfire officials continue to watch the fires and their proximity to the lines butthe danger seemed to lessen Friday afternoon.

“We were definitely on pins and needles for a while,” Fishman said.

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