Manager’s Message – October 2022

Debi WilsonDear Member:

At Lane Electric, we take our responsibility to safely and sustainably power rural communities seriously. We understand the impact outages have on members.

On Friday, September 9, based on a Red Flag Warning for extreme fire weather issued by the National Weather Service, conversations with emergency responders, county officials, and other utility providers, we made the difficult decision to implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).

This was an extreme measure that several other utilities in the area also used based on the same criteria. While we had already set lines to high-sensitivity and had crews stationed throughout the system to respond if needed, we felt the risk to the community, our members and first responders was too great to keep lines energized.

Our service territory is unique, even among other cooperatives. Many areas are heavily forested and isolated, which was a factor in our decision. It also impacts re-energization. While urban electric utilities serve 30-plus homes per line mile, Lane Electric serves fewer than eight. That means there is more line to patrol to reenergize homes following an outage.

The cooperative continues to prioritize enhancing and protecting our system to limit outages and speed up restoration time. By doing so, we also will improve overall reliability, including during extended outages. We’ve been working with the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative on this effort. We’re weeks away from having a proposed technology roadmap and financial model to help Lane Electric make these important improvements. You’ll be hearing more from us about this in 2023.

As always, we continue to look for ways to improve how we serve you.

Debi Wilson