Idaho Power prepared for triple digit heat

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Triple digit temperatures are always a concern for power companies, as energy usage soars when people turn up the air conditioning. Idaho Power says it's not worried about the weather putting a strain on the power grid. | How hot will it get?

The company says that's because it's all about supply and demand.

"The electrical grid is just a really fine balance," Idaho Power spokeswoman Lynette Berriochoa said. "For as big of a machine as it is, it's very delicate, and supply and demand have to meet each other constantly."

This summer, and every summer, the energy demand is up. Idaho Power expects their demand to increase nearly 50 percent between last week and next week alone.

"This time last week our system peak was 2,200 megawatts, this time next week it could be more like 3,200 which is pretty close to our all-time peak in demand for electrical use," Berriochoa said.

The demand is there, and Idaho Power ensures that it has the supply to match that, even with these 100 degree days in the forecast.

"All of our plants will be running by next week in full, but we're comfortable with where were at," Berriochoa said.

In these 'peak periods,' the company can use additional power sources from around the state to supply extra energy. That would include power sources like wind and gas.

While rolling blackouts have happened in other states when power companies can't give out enough energy, Berriochoa says that it's extremely rare to see that in Idaho, and that they're prepared for this volume of use.

"Our grid is healthy, our plants are all online or ready to come online so we're not concerned about meeting demand as long as we don't have anything external thing happen that's beyond our control," Berriochoa said. "Only things like a wildfire or accident that maybe takes out a power line that could really impact our ability to conserve customers."

Berriochoa said any power outages in Idaho this summer would likely be related to a storm or wildfire. If that happens, the company suggests doing things like shutting the blinds during the day and keeping windows open at night to keep your home cool.

You can also conserve energy at home every day. Idaho Power identifies a 'peak period' during the day when energy demand is highest.

"We see a huge spike in demand from 4:00-8:00 p.m.," Berriochoa said. "Everyone's getting off work or home from school and the air conditioning goes up and everyone's doing chores."

By avoiding that 'peak period' and running appliances like washing machines or dishwashers in the morning hours or late at night, Idaho Power says you can help cut down on the demand for energy.