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Sunday, December 17, 2006

2nd power update from Puget Sound Energy

As of 6 AM this morning here are the latest updates from Washington State's largest private electric utility on power outages and restoration:
  • Two days after a fierce windstorm hit the Northwest (as of daybreak Sunday, Dec. 17), Puget Sound Energy crews have restored electric service to more than 400,000 of the 700,000 homes and businesses that lost power.

  • Most of the nine counties that receive PSE electric service sustained tens of thousands of outages, with King County experiencing the most damage and outages – approximately 380,000 total. As of 6 a.m. today, about half of these King County customers still had no power, though steady progress is being made to bring their service back: more than 70,000 customers in Bothell, Kenmore, Juanita, Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah Plateau and neighboring areas regained their electric service Saturday night.

  • In other communities where the storm damage was extensive but somewhat less severe, crews working ‘round the clock have restored power for 80 to 95 percent of PSE's customers. Only a very small number of PSE customers remain without lights in Whatcom, Skagit, Jefferson, and Kittitas counties. About 60 percent of the PSE customers in Pierce, Thurston, and Kitsap counties who lost power now have their lights back. On Whidbey Island, where the entire island was darkened by the storm, more than two-thirds of the people now have electric service back.

  • Even with our crews working nonstop to repair the massive damage, it's going to take several more days – and even longer in the very hard-hit areas – to get everyone's service restored. We encourage people still without power to plan accordingly.

  • We do know that the following areas of King County will remain without power throughout tomorrow and likely longer because of extensive structural damage to our transmission system caused by falling trees. These areas include: the Cougar Mountain area of Bellevue, rural Woodinville, North Bend, Snoqualmie, Duvall, Carnation, and Skykomish.

  • We've made good progress repairing the backbone transmission system. So far, we've repaired about half of the 85 transmission lines taken down by the storm, and by re-routing power loads, we've re-energized 128 of the 159 substations that lost power from the storm. As we continue to work on restoring the local power-distribution system, we will be able to develop more community-specific information.

  • Customers who have power back can help those who are still out by conserving electricity. Please use only the lights you need and minimize appliance use. This will help us prevent additional outages due to overloading on circuits as we continue to rebuild our system to restore electric service.

  • We appreciate the public's understanding and patience. We are working with community agencies to assist those who are still without power. We continue to ask people to pull off the roads and let our crews get into damaged areas.

  • We now have 330 crews working on the restoration effort, with another 80 crews due to arrive in the next day or so. Many of these crew members worked 40 hours straight after the storm hit, and took a mandatory rest last night. Once the additional repair crews arrive, we'll have more than 2,000 people working in the field to restore customers' power.

  • Please stay away from downed, electrified power lines – and don't ever assume that a downed line is NOT energized. If people see a utility crew repairing damaged lines, we ask that they not try to ask the crew questions about when a neighborhood's power will be restored. Our crews are extremely busy … and your questions will slow the repair effort.

  • To help develop community specific restoration estimates, we have set up several "zones" within our service area. Each zone includes several substations that now have power thanks to our transmission-system restoration efforts. The zones also include a number of distribution circuits that are in need of repair. Crews have been deployed to each of these zones, and we expect to continue seeing the number of customers restored. The zones include Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Kent, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent/Covington, SeaTac, Tukwila, Renton, and Sammamish Plateau. Additional zones are being developed while restoration continues across the system.
Those are all the latest alerts. If you have power, be thankful and conserve it, if you don't, please be patient and understanding.

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