Experts say smog can knock out power

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(KSL News) The smog that has plagued the Wasatch Front for days may have made breathing a little harder for you, but it can also leave you in the dark.

Rocky Mountain Power says the mist could contaminate a power pole's insulators with particulates. Electricity can arc, or jump, over the dirty insulator causing a circuit fault -- which could knock out service for some customers.

In some cases, an electric arc can cause a power pole to catch fire. Rocky Mountain Power says customers should be on alert. "Check to see where the candles and matches are. Check the batteries in the flashlights. And we're saying just be prepared in the event of an outage," said company spokeswoman Margaret Oler.

Heavy rain or snow can clear the contamination away. In the meantime, repair crews will be on high alert.

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