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Schools told to power downCold weather and a regional power crunch mean evening shutdowns beginning Sunday.
"As Bainbridge braces for a blast of arctic air, Puget Sound Energy has told the school district to curtail power use in some buildings during evening hours. While some evening activities will be impacted, the regular school day will not. Bainbridge Island School District (BISD) was given the order by PSE Thursday, to cut power to Woodward Middle School, Ordway Elementary and Bainbridge High School's 200 building, Sunday through Tuesday, 5-8 p.m. It's unprecedented - we have never had a curtailment so early in the season, PSE representative Don McDaniel said. We typically expect them in January and February.This year the timing is off; the predicted deep-freeze has arrived like an early Christmas gift. PSE called for the curtailment here because BISD participates in a PSE plan by which the district gets lower power rates by agreeing to power down when the utility requires it.Warned by PSE Thursday evening that the power was to be turned down, representatives of the district administration met with building administrators and custodians, as well as maintenance, information systems and food services personnel on Friday to coordinate a response. Typically, schools do not shut power completely off, but are asked to get down to a prescribed load limit. BISD will preserve fire safety systems through the curtailment and protect computer equipment from surges when the power comes back on, district officials said in a news release. The predicted cold snap is expected to put a strain on the Northwest power grid. The region can usually get the surplus power it needs from generating plants in California, but not this year - several plants are closed for maintenance work. That work is usually scheduled for late November-early December, putting the California plants back on line in time for the usual January cold spells.When the power goes off in Bainbridge schools, they won't be the only ones to dim; every school district across western Washington will have to turn down power in some schools, McDaniel said.School district personnel will stay in touch with PSE to monitor the curtailment, which could be extended beyond the Tuesday limit, if the weather doesn't warm.There's no predicting the outcome at this time, whether it (curtailment) will be longer than we think now, PSE's McDaniel said. We just don't know for sure. Although the regular school day schedule will not impacted, some evening events at the affected facilities are cancelled, including the following: Ordway, Monday evening: * Bainbridge Youth Soccer boys U-12 with Mitch Rekow, * Pee Wee basketball practice* Girl Scout Troop 3208Ordway, Tuesday evening * Debbie Peek Daisy Scout troop, * Shir Hayam Hebrew lessons* Bainbridge Island Rope SkippersWoodward School:* Cross Sound Church's Sunday service is cancelled. * Indian Guides, RopeSkippers and Girl Scouts, Latin class Monday evening.Bainbridge High School has no cancellations. Each school will have updated information about activities available on Monday morning. "