GARDEN CITY -- Idaho Power had a planned power outage in Garden City Tuesday that left more than 200 without power, and in some cases heat, for several hours.
Tuesday's planned outage was one of 50 projects Idaho Power is doing in 2013 as part of their 17-year plan to replace a huge amount of underground cable. In order to do this, they had to shut off power for more than four hours.
"We have about 7 million feet (of cable) that's 30 to 50 years old all across Idaho Power service territory," said Jan Bryant, Delivery Project Manager for Idaho Power.
They have done almost all of the 50 projects scheduled for this year across the state.
"We have had planned outages on every one of those projects," said Bryant, "And that's our preferred way to do this, is to plan it so we can let customers know ahead of time."
Idaho Power delivers postcards, knocks on doors, and call customers whose power will be turned off while they work. Tammy Shaffer got the call from Idaho Power several days ago, before Tuesday's planned outage.
"I got a personalized message on the phone saying that they would be discontinuing the power from 9:00 to 4:00 today, so we did know about it," Shaffer said.
She said they cleaned out the fridge and did their best to prepare for the planned outage.
"We did pretty good until all the heat went out and then it got very, very cold in here, and I was babysitting my grandson and one of the neighbor kids came across, so I had two kids in here," Shaffer said. "We had a tough morning."
She said it was a pain taking care of two sick people in a cold house during the outage. Idaho Power said this was all in an effort to avoid unplanned power outages, and they were worried about that happening in Shaffer's area.
"We intended to have this done last week," said Bryant, "We had a couple of extenuating circumstances and we didn't want to take an outage on Black Friday, that was our first option. So we pushed it to Wednesday and certainly didn't intend to have it in the cold. We'll certainly be looking at our processes to see if we can do something different next time."
Idaho Power said they have not gotten a lot of complaints on these planned outages. They said this was the first one where they have had an issues with the extent of the outage. However, they hope the new way they are putting in the underground cables will keep the new ones in use longer.