Some Incline areas still without power |

Some Incline areas still without power

Patricia Hickson
Nevada Appeal News Service

The North Shore area from Tahoe City to Incline Village is expected to remain with a limited power supply into Friday.

Incline Village will continue to operate on a backup system as crews work around the clock to access and repair three power poles and the 120,000-volt transmitter line the poles carry from Carson Valley to Incline.

The line has been down and damaged since storms pummeled the area last weekend. Sierra Pacific Power officials said the remote backcountry location of the damaged lines, combined with 4 to 6 feet of new snow, has made progress on the repairs especially difficult.

“You have to go in four miles on snowshoes or with a Sno-Cat or snowmobile to access these lines for fixing,” said Sierra Pacific Public Information officer Karl Walquist.

“The area is so inaccessible we can’t get the big trucks that dig holes in there … which means we might have to be digging new holes (for the poles) by hand. It’s back-breaking work to get in there and get these fixed.”

Walquist said a crew of 13 is working to access and fix the damaged lines – 11 Sierra Pacific employees and two Sno-Cat operators from Diamond Peak.

“Last night, we delivered a Sno-Cat Kassbohrer 300 and an operator to run it,” said Diamond Peak ski resort manager Ed Youmans.

The Diamond Peak Snowcat is normally used for grooming, but is working to cut a road through the snow for SPP equipment to make it to the powerline.

Diamond Peak is closed to conserve power, but expected to open Saturday or as soon as the line is fully repaired.

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the crew had cut 21Ú2 miles of road toward the line and planned to continue working into the night. SPP officials anticipated the crew reaching the downed line by today.

Until the transmitter line from Carson Calley is fixed, Incline will continue to run off of two 14,000-volt lines from a substation in Kings Beach. Those lines are running off the only other operating transmitter line coming into North Lake Tahoe, a 60,000volt line from a substation in Martis Valley.

Two other major transmitter lines unable to provide power to the basin because of storm damage include the 60,000-volt line between Truckee and Tahoe City and the 60,00-volt line between Tahoe City and Kings Beach.

Public Information Officer Walquist said a short outage Wednesday afternoon was because of circuit overloading.

“The lines were being taxed by demands beyond their capacity to handle – like a fuse in your house, if it get overloaded, it shuts down,” he said.

Walquist said, unlike a fuse in a house, the power company can’t just flip a switch to turn the power back on. It must be phased in slowly, explaining why some neighborhoods may have received power sooner than others.