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Power Grids Getting Fried by Heat in Preview of What’s to Come

  • Avista imposed first rolling blackout as heat stressed grid
  • Grids will struggle as extreme weather becomes more common
A thermometer reading 116 degrees Fahrenheit during a heatwave in Portland, Oregon.
A thermometer reading 116 degrees Fahrenheit during a heatwave in Portland, Oregon.Photographer: Maranie Staab/Bloomberg

The crushing heat smothering the U.S. Northwest is offering yet another stark reminder that the nation’s aging power grids weren’t built to withstand temperatures unleashed by global warming.

Avista Corp. implemented rolling blackouts Monday for the first time after temperatures soared in Spokane, Washington, overheating its equipment as demand for electricity climbed.