Pubdate: Fri, 06 Nov 2015
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2015 The Associated Press


SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Indoor growing operations for legal marijuana 
businesses are causing problems for Oregon's electrical grid, 
according to officials from an electrical-utility company.

Pacific Power said Wednesday that grow operations have taken grids 
above capacity, blowing out seven transformers since July and causing 
outages and equipment damage, reported The Statesman Journal.

The problems are a remnant of pot's black-market past, when 
substandard electrical work powered the lights at growing sites.

Portland General Electric has had similar problems, according to 
spokesman Steve Corson. He said anecdotal reports from PGE crews show 
about 10 percent of their transformer blowouts are from growing 
operations, with about 400 blowouts each year.

To curb the problem, utility companies are asking marijuana growers 
to talk to power providers before starting home or commercial 
operations to make sure electrical systems are operating correctly.

Just one or two in-house growing operations on a circuit could 
overload the local grid and cause an outage, says Pacific Power 
spokesman Tom Gauntt.

Even a small operation with four plants and standard lights "is like 
hooking up 29 refrigerators that run 24/7," according to Pacific 
Power safety director Roger Blank.

Some growers, like Shango Premium Cannabis owner Shane McKee, have 
decided not to take any chances. He keeps a fulltime electrician on 
his staff and regularly speaks with his utility company and an 
electric engineer.
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