Pacific Power: Legal indoor pot growing operations causing power - KPTV - FOX 12

Pacific Power: Legal indoor pot growing operations causing power outages

Posted: Updated: Nov 04, 2015 03:24 PM

In the last four months, Pacific Power has responded to seven power outages caused by home-based marijuana growing operations in Oregon, according to the utility.

Pacific Power reported that legal indoor marijuana growing operations have created a new electrical safety concern in Oregon and Washington.

The utility has billed those responsible for the outages an average of $5,000 each for overloading local equipment and causing damage.

"What most people don't realize is that growing marijuana is a very intense power use," said Roger Blank, Pacific Power's director of safety. "From a power use stand point, even a small operation of four plants with standard lights is like hooking up 29 refrigerators that run 24/7."

Pacific Power recommends hiring a licensed electrician to set up an indoor growing operation, saying it will likely require a dedicated circuit similar to one for a dryer or a hot tub.

Depending on the capacity of transformers and other equipment in a local area, Pacific Power said one or two in-house grow operations on the same circuit can overtax the local grid, damage equipment and cause an outage in the area.

Having a commercial growing operation, like any new business use, requires formal requests so that Pacific Power can assess electrical needs.

Stores that sell the specialized equipment used for in-home grow operations can offer advice on efficiency, insulation and ventilation.

"No one should be shy about seeking advice on how to do your in-house grow safely and efficiently," said Blank. "And that includes letting us know when your power needs are about to expand greatly."

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