NV Energy to cut power for residents when fire risk is high

INCLINE VILLAGE, NV (KOLO) NV Energy is hoping to reduce the risk of wildfires by turning off the power for periods of time during high fire risk. The utility held several open houses to explain the new program to residents.

"I think this whole thing of shutting off the power in the perceived risk is ridiculous," Al O'Connor, a longtime resident of Incline Village, says.

Carolyn Barbash, of NV Energy says cutting the power is a last resort and people living in these areas will be notified so they can prepare.

"It's not a high likelihood it'll happen but we're going to try to do everything else before then and it's because we value property and life," Barbash says.

She says very specific conditions will have to be in play before NV Energy turns off the power.

"The wind of course, it's going to be the fuel conditions on the ground, how much fuel there is and the humidity in the air and it will have to be a high level and high risk on all those conditions," she says.

O'Connor is worried about the impact the outages could have on the east shore of Lake Tahoe.

"They have not been able to provide us with any kind of an economic analysis on how it will affect us. They just say public safety," he says.

PG&E in California is also implementing similar mitigation.

"A lot of utilities are looking at this as the climate changes a bit and the ground conditions are drier," Barbash says.

O'Connor is still frustrated and says he plans to speak to elected officials further on the matter.

"To be frank, I think it's just the utility trying to protect themselves and putting all the cost on the people that live here and it's ridiculous," he says.

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