Heavy Mountain Snow in February Means Windfall for Electric Utilities

Heavy Mountain Snow in February Means Windfall for Electric Utilities
Ross Dam / Photo by US Army Corp of Engineers

Thanks to record-breaking snow in the mountains in February, the Northwest’s electrical utilities may not be out of luck after all, according to a recent Seattle PI blog. A drier than usual start to winter had electrical companies in Seattle predicting empty mountains and empty pockets.

Much to their surprise, a sudden surplus of runoff will allow for the sale of up to $19 million worth of power for Seattle City Light, Seattle’s publicly owned electric power utility. The Northwest region has an extraordinary amount of power to sell and fortunately, Seattle customers benefit from the publicly owned electrical utilities with a zero dollar surcharge, the blog explained.

Seattle City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco was quoted in the blog as saying, “While any forecast can and will change based on how much electricity we can produce and the price we can get for that power, we are in a much better position than we were earlier in the year.”

How Much Snow Hit the Passes?

Kirby electric_mountain snowBetween mid-February and mid-March the snowpack grew 32% in Snoqualmie and as of last week was up to 108% of normal while the Harts snowpack is up to 118% of normal, the article explained.

Beaver Pass in the North Cascades, Northeast Washington and Northern Idaho all have snow well above normal.

Other Benefits of Snow Runoff

Not only does snow runoff allow for low cost hydroelectric power in the Northwest region, it also provides water to the Columbia and Yakima irrigation districts and assists young salmon upstream with a quick river flow, the blog noted.

About Kirby Electric

Kirby Electric is a premier Seattle electrical contractor specializing in commercial and industrial electrical contracting. We can help with any electrical needs when it comes to upgrading older buildings, including equipment hook ups, rewiring or relocating panels, and lighting upgrades. We also work with electrical companies like Puget Sound Energy, Tacoma Public Utilities, Lakeview Power and others that will provide a rebate for upgrading to a more efficient lighting upon approval of the project. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote.

(Photos via blog.seattlepi.com and by Evgeni Dinev via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)