- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

KETCHUM, Idaho (AP) - Idaho Power Co. wants to build a second transmission line to the central Idaho resort area of Ketchum to help protect residents from power outages.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports in a story on Wednesday (http://bit.ly/1lEnYIR) that the company submitted the application with Blaine County to build the 12-mile line from Hailey to Ketchum.

The region lost power for more than 24 hours in December 2009, and community leaders fear the area that experiences cold winter temperatures is vulnerable to more outages. Wildfires in recent years have also threatened power service.

The company says the 138-kilovolt line would backup an existing line of the same voltage that connects a substation in Hailey with a substation in Ketchum. The substation in Hailey is connected to the rest of the company’s power grid by two lines from the south.

Idaho Power is seeking permits to build the line that includes residential zones. It’s unclear if it will be successful in that process.

“We feel that there are many fundamental questions that need to be answered before we review their proposal,” said Joyce Allgaier, planning manager for Ketchum.

Idaho Power said it wants to follow most of the route of the existing power line that runs from Hailey north along the east side of the Wood River Valley. The line then goes up the East Fork and over a ridge before connecting with the Ketchum substation.

The new line, officials said, would go along the same path until St. Luke’s on State Highway 75. From there, the line would be buried to the substation.

The company also wants to use 47-foot steel poles rather than 39-foot wood poles to carry the new line. The company says the metal poles would develop a rust coating to mimic wood.

The cost of the above-ground part of the line is estimated at $5 million to $6 million. Burying the line in Ketchum will cost another $14.3 million.

Mike Barrie, Idaho Power’s facility siting coordinator, said the company held numerous meetings and open houses with area leaders and residents. “We’re submitting the route that was pretty much the consensus of everyone involved,” he said.

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Information from: Idaho Mountain Express, http://www.mtexpress.com

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