Manager’s Message – September 2023

Keith Brooks headshotThere has been a lot of online conversation regarding regional power companies— including Douglas Electric Cooperative (DEC) — and some misunderstandings about what’s being termed rolling blackouts. I want to clarify, that there have been no instances of rolling blackouts in our area by any company.

Rolling blackouts are deliberate and temporary outages planned by power companies to conserve electricity when demand exceeds supply.

DEC has never undertaken such measures, always ensuring sufficient power for our members. In the future, that may change as people lobby for the removal of dams on the lower Snake River, but that discussion is for another day.

Some may confuse rolling blackouts with unexpected outages during fire season. These unplanned outages occur when equipment is triggered to shut down instantly if something as minor as a bird or branch contacts the wires in a potentially hazardous way.

When companies adjust their equipment to this level of sensitivity, unplanned outages may increase. These outages are immediate responses to potential risks, aimed at halting the flow of electricity to any compromised lines.

On rare occasions, power might be turned off intentionally, but this is something DEC has never needed to do, except when a fire burned into our territory. It’s always a measure of absolute necessity, and if it were to occur, we would make it widely known.

This intentional cut is known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff, and it’s a measure to protect against wildfires in regions with extreme weather, such as hot temperatures, high winds, or dry vegetation. A PSPS is a serious decision made to ensure the safety of our members, communities, and employees.

DEC has been recognized as an industry pioneer because of our forward-thinking approach to wildfire prevention. Our dedication to vegetation management has been substantial, recently earning us a $9 million grant to preserve the rights-ofway within our territory, underlining our commitment to forest fire prevention.

When DEC’s protective devices are at their highest settings, there may be more frequent outages and potentially longer restoration times. We know this can be problematic, especially during the fire season, so it’s crucial to be prepared for an outage:

  • Have a family safety plan in place for every member of your household.
  • Freeze containers of water to keep food cold. Limit opening refrigerator doors.
  • Build an outage supply kit with water, nonperishable food, flashlights, batteries, and first-aid supplies.
  • Charge medical devices fully, and plan for medications that require refrigeration.
  • Make sure generators are ready to safely operate.

We will try our best to keep you informed during a PSPS via member services and through the Douglas Forest Protective Association website and social media channels. Make sure to update your contact information with us, so we can reach you in an emergency.

The Douglas Public Health Network has information and resources listed in Umpqua Prepared, a family emergency preparedness handbook.

For more information, visit the Douglas Public Health Network website or call (541) 440-3571.

Safety is always first at Douglas Electric.

General Manager
Keith Brooks