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Sunday, December 17, 2006

3rd power update from Puget Sound Energy

As of 5 PM this evening here are the latest updates from Washington State's largest private electric utility on power outages and restoration:
  • By later tonight, Puget Sound Energy crews will have restored electric service to approximately a half-million of the homes and businesses the utility serves that lost power from the fierce windstorm which hit the region two days ago. In all, about 700,000 PSE customers lost power from the storm.

  • 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 4 p.m. today, a little more than half of these King County customers had their power back, with some 100 crews now working, ‘round the clock, in King County to restore service for the remainder.

  • In some communities where the storm damage was extensive but somewhat less severe, crews have now restored power for all but a small percentage (about 3 to 5 percent) of those who lost power. Only isolated pockets of customers remain without lights in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, Jefferson, and Kittitas counties. Sixty to 70 percent of the PSE customers in Pierce, Thurston, and Kitsap counties who lost power now have their lights 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, Issaquah, 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 129 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 more than 350 crews working on the restoration effort, with another 50 crews arriving over the next two days from other states. Many of the local 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.

  • "Outside" crews PSE has enlisted to help in the restoration effort are from: Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming. (Crews from Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa also could be brought in.)

  • 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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