The huge reduction in electricity use caused by widespread layoffs and plant closures, have dimmed Northwest’s chances of winter blackouts. The region also benefited from accelerated development of new generating capacity totalling 900MW of electricity.

The Northwest has been suffering from a drought that has reduced the hydro power supply by about 4,000MW. Nearly half the electricity in the region is supplied by the Bonneville Power Administration through its system of dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

However, the BPA has been forced to spill less water for migrating fish in order to maintain power production, raising concern about future salmon runs.