Dust and Rain = Fire?

Due to damages caused by a 115 kV pole fire, a breaker had to be opened this morning around 10:00 am. This temporarily disrupted power to approximately 80 residential and irrigation customers. Our crews have been working virtually nonstop for the past few days to make sure that power is restored as quickly and safely as possible.

During these long dry stretches we experience here in the Columbia Basin, dust can build up on the electrical insulators on power poles and in substations. These insulators are meant to protect the cedar poles from the electrical currents running through the wires. However, when rain mixes with the dust on these insulators it results in something called a “leakage current.” The muddy water can occasionally provide just enough of a pathway for the electric current to reach the cedar pole and create the “perfect storm” required for a pole fire.


As of 3:30, power to all customers from this morning’s outage have been restored

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