Providing Power

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At what point could our demand exceed our supply... and how long would it take to get our power back.
Thursday afternoon more than 5-thousand people in Carson City were without air conditioning when they lost power.
Faye Andersen, with Sierra Pacific Power Company, says it could be blamed on the overload because of the heat.
"It could be a combination of things. It was fairly small and we do have outages throughout the year for various reasons. But, we're still looking into that one and seeing what the problem was."
She says while small power outages are part of normal operation, blackouts and rolling brownouts aren't normal for Nevada.
The record power use, she says, is also expected to stop during the weekend when businesses close and people spend more time outdoors.
"We're adding about 10-thousand new customers every year and we've been doing that for the last couple of years. So, we have to have good planning and plan ahead to make sure we have enough power plants, enough generators, and enough transmission lines to get power into the area."
Two years ago they finished a six-year project building a transmission line to import more power from Utah.
By 2008, they hope to begin construction on a natural gas fired plant outside of Sparks... and just this week, they started using a brand new substation in Carson City.
"So far we've been ahead of the game and made sure we've had enough power to make sure everybody gets what they need in their demand."
Since they are constantly monitoring the grid, they know exactly where the power is running and where it comes from.
When you do lose a substation because of construction or failed equipment, she says it's usually very easy to transfer power through different circuits ensuring your power stays on.