Tuesday afternoon, about 53,000 Rocky Mountain Power residents in East Idaho were impacted by a widespread blackout.

The major power outage affecting thousands of residents in East Idaho started Tuesday afternoon. It is the second time in less than three years that inconveniences at Goshen Substation cause a major power outage. Rocky Mountain Power officials reported on Tuesday the outage happened just before 5 p.m. They said the outage had affected customers in Idaho Falls and surroundings areas.

Rocky mountain power outage. Credit: gephardtdaily

A major power outage has left Tuesday afternoon thousands of residents without electricity. Idaho Falls residents reported they run out power at about 4:45 p.m., this Tuesday. By the time the outage occurred, Idaho Falls authorities did not know what might have been the cause originating the major power outage.

Few minutes after 4:45 p.m., all customers with Rocky Mountain Power, Idaho Falls Power, Fall River Electric and Lower Valley Energy had not power service. Kerry Hammon, a spokeswoman for the city of Idaho Falls, addressed residents by declaring that Idaho Falls competent authorities were working to solve the situation. They asked some patients from customers to resolve the power outage and figure out the causes of the situation.

Idaho Falls power outage affected traffic lights and other city operations. When the outage was reported, Idaho Falls authorities had estimation neither on how long the electricity would be out, nor the possible origins of the blackout.

City officials warned drivers and motorists to treat intersections with nonworking traffic signals as four-way stops. Several traffic accidents were reported because of the power outage.

By the time the outage took place, Idaho Falls Power had reported that Rigby, Rexburg, Basalt, Firth, Hammon, Idaho Falls, Shelley, Montpelier, Island Park, Ashton and Driggs, Victor, Swan Valley, Jackson and Star Valley, Wyoming, and West Yellowstone and Montana did not have power service.

Spokeswoman Margaret Oler said it was about an extensive power outage, and that pretty much of all of Rocky Mountain Power customers run out power. Such information was confirmed by Rocky Mountain Power officials: the outage extended to approximately 53,800 customers.

Minutes later, city officials detected the failure was originating the problem. Hammon stated that there was an equipment failure at Goshen Substation near the town of Shelley, which caused the widespread outage. Hammon also referred to a fire causing the outage at the station, however, further details, about on the fire as the cause of the outage, have not yet been provided.

At around 6:00 p.m., Idaho Falls Power and Fall River Electric crews asked residents to turn off electronic devices, referring to everything that is plugged into the wall and lights, heat and air conditioning. They also asked people to turn off water and irrigation systems to avoid water pressure lost.

At 6:03 p.m., wrote on its website: “We are aware of a large-scale power outage in Southeast Idaho that began approximately 4:45 p.m. today, affecting approximately 52,000 Rocky Mountain Power customers. We received reports of a fire near the Goshen substation, and our crews have responded. We are investigating the cause of the outage and working to restore power as soon as possible.”

Then, Rocky Mountain Power officials released a statement: “The problem has been isolated, and power restoration to customers is beginning. Power will be restored in segments. Customers can help this effort by turning off and unplugging as many things as possible. Customers should leave at least one light on so they have an indication when power is restored,” wrote Rocky Mountain Power crew.

At about 6:20 p.m., Rocky Mountain Power confirmed that electricity restoration began. However, the power was restored in a segment to ensure stability, so East Idaho customers had electricity back at different times. The power restoration was completed at 6:45 p.m.

Massive outage in 2013

In December 2013, more than 70,000 eastern Idahoans ran out electricity due to a massive outage originating at the Rocky Mountain Power-owned Goshen Substation. That time, the power outage extended for 11 hours in below zero temperatures.

Tuesday’s power outage is the second one caused by issues at the Goshen Substation.

However, Margaret Oler affirmed that The Goshen Transmission Substation would continue properly serving customers, and there are no reasons to doubt the substation’s reliability

Source: East Idaho News