Rocky Mountain Power preparing for possible power interruptions due to last week’s ‘brown snow’ event

February 11, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Last week’s weather event, which saw particulate-laden “brown snow,” falling in parts of the valley has been linked to recent power disturbances along the Wasatch Front. Rocky Mountain Power is anticipating more power related disturbances tonight and tomorrow due to rain showers activating left-behind contamination on the electrical network.

Rocky Mountain Power says the Feb. 5 snow, which was mixed with pollutants and dust, coated equipment on major system assets supplying power to customers along the Wasatch Front. Light precipitation causes the accumulation of dust and particles to become conductive, sometimes resulting in arcing and sparking, which can create power interruptions.

In an effort to minimize power interruptions, Rocky Mountain Power has been power-washing transmission line insulators via helicopter along the Wasatch Front.

Company officials expect heavier rain and snow over the weekend will address remaining contaminated equipment, but anticipate possible interruptions over the next 24 hours.  Additional crews will also be working through the night to ensure faster response to possible interruptions.