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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: First interconnection lets Spokane power flow to Yakima

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

“Spokane ‘Juice’ Used To Light North Yakima,” said a headline in the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

For the first time, the Washington Water Power Co. (today’s Avista) hooked up its power lines with Pacific Power & Light (today’s PacifiCorp) at a spot near Lind.

“Through this commercial arrangement, the Pacific Power & Light Company will fortify itself against interruption in service by contracting with the local company,” the paper reported.

The interconnection was mainly to be used in case of emergency. For instance, when Pacific Power & Light’s power plant on the Naches River went temporarily out of commission due to high water, the town of North Yakima (now called just plain Yakima) was able to use current from Washington Water Power, based in Spokane.

This was the first such interconnection in the region. Power companies were just beginning to understand the advantages of interconnection. It enabled service to be more reliable, and each company didn’t have to maintain such a large reserve.

Over the next several decades more such connections were made between the region’s many competing power utilities. Finally, in 1942, just months after the Pearl Harbor attack, the federal government mandated connecting all of the region’s power companies into a giant regional power pool, called the Northwest Power Pool.

Today, the Northwest Power Pool still exists.

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