Northern power in better shape than south |

Northern power in better shape than south

With soaring temperatures forcing Nevada’s southern city of lights to switch off Monday, the northern section of the Silver State has not yet reached its full capacity of electrical current.

The Las Vegas blackout prompted Gov. Kenny Guinn, who implemented a statewide conservation plan in April, to step up efforts to withhold energy.

In Northern Nevada, the lights are still on, and Sierra Pacific expects that to continue.

“We are still in good shape. Our generating units are still running,” Sierra Pacific Power spokesman Karl Walquist said Tuesday. Sierra Pacific provides electrical power to about 50,000 households in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Tuesday’s highest demand amounted to 1,482 megawatt hours. The system’s total capacity is 1,740 mg.

Then again, Walquist said the Reno-based utility company expects this summer’s electrical thrust to top 1,600 mg in demand, surpassing last year’s system peak of 1,577 reported on July 31.

July and August is when the summer peak usually occurs, he said.

Population growth and high temperatures are the contributing factors to the drain on electricity, Walquist pointed out.

There are solutions on the horizon.

Walquist said Sierra Pacific is already tapping into a Naniwa Power plant placed on line 17 miles east of Reno, a move that’s helpful in offsetting the electrical demand in the utility.

Five power plants – two in Northern Nevada and three in the south – are expected to go on line in the next few years. Nevada is trying to circumvent the power woes California has faced.

Sierra Pacific Resources, which owns Sierra Pacific Power that serves the north and Nevada Power to the south, answers the call for adequate electrical current in the state by implementing a conservation plan titled “Take Control.”

The plan may be called up on the Internet at

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