UPDATE, 9:21 P.M. 2/9/17: Lineman and crews from Lower Valley Energy have continued to work alongside crews from 5 neighboring utilities, quite often through the night, in an effort to fully restore power to Teton Village and surrounding areas. As of 8:40 yesterday evening, 11 wooden replacement poles had been placed. Crews have been battling weather and road closures. Roads going into Jackson have been closed at various times, preventing hardware from Denver from entering the Jackson Hole Valley. 3500-4000 customers lost power Tuesday evening after a storm with winds exceeding 90 miles per hour blew over 17 steel poles carrying a main transmission line.
UPDATE, 2:25 P.M.: Lower Valley Energy released a statement explaining why it is expected to take so long to fully restore power. The statement reads “The 17 collapsed steel poles feeding Teton Village are high voltage transmission lines. Most of the power lines you see in our service territory are smaller distribution lines – when distribution lines go down we can more easily re-route power to energize the affected areas. Transmission lines feed large amounts of power to our substations, which are then distributed out to our customers. When the transmission system fails for whatever reason, the line needs to be entirely repaired (versus re-routing power).
We are currently replacing the 17 steel transmission poles with temporary wooden poles. We are hoping we can complete this task earlier than the estimate of 5-7 days. We have the manpower and equipment assistance of 5 neighboring utilities: High Plains Power, Idaho Falls Power, Fall River Rural Electric, Bonneville Power, and Wasatch Energy, along with the crews from the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.”
UPDATE, 9:45 A.M.: Brian Tanabe, spokesman for Lower Valley Energy, said the 17 transmission poles that buckled were steel poles, causing the major outage in Teton County. Tanabe said Lower Valley Energy expects Teton Village to be out of power for 5-7 days. Crews are working to clear snow to gain access to the buckled poles and install temporary wooden poles. They hoped to have power, even if on an intermittent basis, to Jackson Hole Airport this afternoon.
UPDATE, 8:30 A.M.: Lower Valley Energy reported that a total of 17 transmission poles buckled on the Moose-Wilson road causing the major outage. Brian Tanabe with Lower Valley Energy said the current game plan is to clear snow to gain access to each transmission pole and then begin erecting temporary wooden poles. According to Tanabe, the cause for the downed transmission lines are still not yet known though the area has experiencing higher than normal wind gusts of up to 90+ mph. All Lower Valley Energy crews have been dispatched along with crews from 5 neighboring utilities who are also assisting.
Lower Valley Energy estimates that 3,500-4,000 customers are without power as of 8:25 am Wednesday morning. The areas affected include Teton Village, Jackson Hole Airport, Solitude, John Dodge and Bar B Bar.
ORIGINAL STORY: Lower Valley Energy crews from Star Valley were dispatched to Teton Village Tuesday evening, February 7, 2017, after 8-10 power poles snapped, some of them in half, during a windy snowstorm. Between 3500 and 4000 homes and businesses could be without power for days in Teton Village and northern Jackson. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is not expected to be open today and the resort’s groomers will likely be assisting Lower Valley Energy to help move snow and clear lines. Jackson Hole Airport plans to be open today on backup systems after several hundred travelers were left stranded when the power went out. Lower Valley Energy stated that they hoped to reroute power Tuesday evening but expected the power to be out for several days in some areas.