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Power line malfunctions

| December 14, 2010 8:00 PM

Thousands of North Idaho residents lost power Monday when an Avista Utilities transmission line malfunctioned, according to a press release.

The outage occurred a few minutes before 2 p.m., said Kootenai Electric Communications Coordinator Erika Neff. A conductor failed at a weak point in the transmission line, cutting off the electricity at one substation in Athol and another north of Rathdrum.

In Rathdrum, Athol, Bayview, Spirit Lake and elsewhere, 6,000 Kootenai Electric members were affected by the outage, Neff said, predominately households. Close to 1,500 Northern Lights customers lost power in Athol and nearby rural areas, according to a spokesman.

In Spirit Lake, 1,383 Avista customers were affected, along with 780 in Oldtown, communications manager Dan Kolbet said.

By 6 p.m. Monday almost all power had been restored. Avista customers were back on line by about 3 p.m.

Avista personnel used a helicopter to discover the weak point in the transmission line, an Avista spokeswoman said. It was repaired quickly.

The line runs generally northward from Rathdrum toward Sandpoint.