Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Power update from Puget Sound Energy

As of 5:30 this evening here are the latest updates from Washington State's largest private electric utility on power outages and restoration:
  • Our crews continue making steady progress restoring customers' power in the wake of yesterday's devastating windstorm. As of 4 p.m. today, we've brought back electric service to almost half or more than 320,000 of the 700,000 customers who lost power when gale-force winds hit the region early yesterday.

  • Those 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 restore electric service.

  • Two-thirds (more than 21,000 out of 37,000 customers) of Island County are back after everyone there lost power yesterday. In King County, which suffered the worst damage, where Puget Sound Energy had more than 380,000 customers without power, we've been able to bring back 85,000 customers or 22 percent. Progress is also being made in Kitsap – 56 percent restored; Kittitas – 52 percent back; Pierce – 49 percent back; and Thurston 35 percent back. Skagit has 18 percent back, Whatcom has about 500 customers out and Vashon Island remains without power.

  • We have 250 repair crews now working to restore power, with 150 additional line crews and 50 additional tree trimmers arriving over the next couple of days (from as far away as Kansas) to aid the restoration effort.

  • Although our crews will continue working around the clock to repair the massive damage, it's going to take several more days – perhaps even longer in the very hard-hit areas – to get everyone's service restored.

  • We've nearly finished repairs on the backbone transmission system. So far, we've re-energized 27 of the 80 transmission lines and 95 of the 150-plus substations that lost power from the storm. As we are able to focus more on restoring the local power-distribution system, we will be able to work on developing community specific information.

  • We appreciate the public's understanding and patience. For those who are still without power, we advise them to spend the weekend with family or friends that DO have service. We continue to ask people to pull off the roads and let our crews get into damaged areas.

  • Please stay away from downed, electrified power lines. 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.

  • Outages occurred throughout our nine-county electric-service area – and many customers in all nine counties have had their power restored. In addition to King and Island counties, extensive outages for PSE customers also occurred in Skagit, Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap, and Kittitas counties and, to a lesser degree, in Jefferson, and Whatcom counties.

  • More than half our entire high-voltage system -- more than 80 PSE transmission lines –– was damaged by the storm; these are the most critical parts of our system since they supply bulk power to the substations that serve individual communities and neighborhoods. We have been focusing on the restoration of this portion of our system, and this phase of the restoration effort is progressing well; by the end of the day, we expect this effort to be substantially completed in Kitsap, Pierce, Thurston, and Skagit Counties. At the same time, other crews have been working to repair key parts of our distribution system, particularly damaged substation circuits and feeder lines.

  • In order to concentrate restoration efforts and develop community specific restoration estimates, we have set up several "zones" within the service territory. 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 see a steady increase in the number of customers restored. The zones include Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, Kent, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent/Covington, SeaTac, Tukwila, and Renton. 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.

<< Home