Avista customers share frustration over scheduled blackout time frame

SPOKANE, Wash. — As the novelty of breaking records wears off, Spokane is still left with dangerous heat, even a breeze does nothing to cool you down. On top of this, power outages could possibly be rolling through Spokane once again on Wednesday.

One way to get out of the sun is to simply go inside, but it does not help when the power goes out. This was the reality for thousands this week. Triple digit temperatures are putting a strain on Avista’s system, forcing rolling blackouts; unexpected ones.

“All of a sudden the power just shut off on us and we were like what’s going on?” Robert Belgarde said. “It was uncomfortable in the beginning that’s for sure, but I was able to work through it and get a little bit of sleep.

Belgarde lost power for three hours at his north Spokane apartment on Monday.

On Tuesday, he was not home to see if his power went out. Avista did tell customers, like Belgarde, about scheduled outages on Tuesday, but he still felt left in the dark in more ways than one.

“There was no indication of exactly when except between those hours, so you don’t know when it’s still going to happen so that doesn’t really help for protecting your electrical equipment and your food,” Belgarde said.

He is talking about the eight-hour time frame of the scheduled outage. Avista said it did not know about people’s conservation efforts and the effect it would have to minimize outages, meaning a smaller time frame could not be given.

“It seems like, you know, they should have something a little bit better planned for this,” Belgarde said.

Avista said people should expect to lose power on Tuesday.

“We continue to improve the process to reduce the number of customers that will experience them, give them more certainty about the time they’re experiencing and work on making sure it is just an hour that they’re experiencing them,” said Heather Rosentrater, Sr. Vice President of energy Delivery for Avista Utilities.

Belgarde said he will stay at home, even if he loses power. He works a graveyard shift, so he does not really have a choice.

“Just going to have to bear down and make it through, because getting up will just wake my sleep time so I’ll just try to keep sleeping,” he said.

Avista said customers should also have the expectation of potentially losing power through the end of the week.

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