ONTARIO — It’s unknown if winter weather is what caused a commercial motor vehicle to hit a pole on East Lane in Ontario just before the lunch hour on Tuesday, but the impact was hard enough to knock two transformers off of a power pole and into a pile of slush.

The result: a mid-winter power outage, but it was brief. The outage lasted about two hours and impacted about 785 customers, according to Idaho Power spokeswoman Erica Shiflet. As the outage was in the area east of the Interstate 84 interchange, it impacted primarily business customers on East Lane and Goodfellow and Idaho avenues, before crews had power restored to the area.

With winter weather hampering road conditions with snow, slush and ice, safety is urged.

“We encourage safe driving,” said Shiflet in a phone interview on Tuesday. “The weather is brutal, but we hope everyone is staying safe out there.”

In a news release on Dec. 29, the utility company cautioned motorists that when roads are snowy or icy, those incidents tend to occur more. Not only can they cause serious injuries, they can also cause outages and “cost customers hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs annually.”

On Dec. 27, the utility stated there were three separate car-pole accidents which resulted in power outages.

Motorists involved in a collision with a power pole in which power lines are on the ground are urged to stay in their vehicle until emergency crews arrives. Bystanders are urged to stay back at least 100 feet.

“Always assume power lines are energized and never touch them,” reads the release.

If a power line falls on your vehicle, and you must leave due to vehicle fire or other life-threatening situations, Idaho Power says to “jump out and as far away as possible with both feet landing on the ground at the same time. Keeping your feet together, shuffle away at least 100 feet and do not touch the vehicle and ground at the same time.

For more information about what to do around a downed power line, visit Idaho Power’s safety page at https://bit.ly/IP_linedown.

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