Transformer-sharing agreement is approved
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission today approved a request by Idaho Power Co. to enter into a transformer-sharing agreement with 43 other electric utilities in the nation. The agreement provides that participating utilities may be called upon to provide or sell spare electric transformers when a terrorist attack disables one or more utility substations.
In addition to providing for a more timely restoration of service in the event of a terrorist attack, the pooling agreement also reduces the risk of long-term outages due to transformer shortages.
The 43 participating utilities – including Avista Utilities serving northern Idaho – own more than 60 percent of the nation’s interstate transmission system.
Under the agreement, each utility is required to maintain and, if necessary, acquire a specific number of transformers in each voltage class in which it participates.
Idaho Power states that it will lower its future overall costs in order to maintain spare transformers in its inventory. The agreement does not increase rates.
“Although the company has taken significant steps to protect its infrastructure from a possible terrorist attack, Idaho Power does not believe it would be feasible or economically practical to maintain in its inventory the large number of spare transformers needed to address every ‘worst-case scenario’ for a terrorist attack upon the electric system,” Idaho Power states in its application. “This sharing agreement will allow Idaho Power and its customers to have the added benefits of access to transformers in a national emergency without the added costs and risks of buying and carrying large surpluses of spare transformers in its inventory.”
A full text of the commission’s order, along with Idaho Power’s application, is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on “File Room” and then on “Electric Cases” and scroll down to Case No. IPC-E-06-27.