Nov. 18, 2015, 4:30 p.m.: As Avista rebuilds from the most devastating natural disaster the utility has faced in its 126 year history, assistance has been requested from outside of the region from other utilities. Along with the 35 crews already working from Avista help is coming from Pacific Gas and Electric in California, Bonneville Power Administration and NV Energy in Reno, Nevada to assist with restoration efforts.
Avista has been assessing the extent of damage to its transmission and distribution system and prioritizing resources as it continues to restore power to the 136,500 customers currently without power. As of now, 45,000 customers have had their power restored. Based on current assessments Avista expects it could take at least 3 to 5 days to restore power to the majority of its customers.
To understand the magnitude of the damage, at the height of the storm approximately 180,000 Avista customers were without power, 42 major transmission lines were taken down and 23 substations were also out of service. Avista’s made tremendous progress today, at this hour, 19 major transmission lines remain down and only 3 substations remain off-line.
Here’s how restoration efforts will continue to proceed:
· Assessment teams and crews are first focusing on rebuilding the remaining transmission lines and substations. These major transmission lines and substations must be in working order before any distribution work can be effective.
· Transmission and substations impacting critical customers are our top priority – these include entities that serve critical community infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, police and fire operations.
· Crews will then work to restore power to those areas with the densest populations and work out along distribution lines to less populated areas.
· Distribution line repairs will be made starting at the substations, with crews making repairs to each distribution line – one section at a time.
· As each section is fully repaired, it can be safely energized.
· Because of the extent of damage from trees and downed power lines – Avista is taking extra precautions to ensure that the power lines are safe to re-energize. This may require physically walking the line to make sure it’s clear of any tree branches or other debris.
Avista is prepared to work around the clock until full restoration of power to all customers has occurred. As they undertake this effort – the safety of the community and their employees will be the top priority.
The next media update is planned for 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.
Safety during a power outage
Avista suggests customers take the following steps during an outage:
- Turn off all the appliances that were on before the power went out.
- Unplug electronic equipment, including computers.
- Leave a light or radio on as an alert when power has been restored.
- Help Avista crews working in a neighborhood know which homes have power by turning on the front porch light
- If you see a downed power line, stay away. Treat all power lines as if they are carrying electrical current, and never touch or move one.
- Do not wire an emergency generator into a home’s electrical system, unless there is a disconnect switch to separate generated power from Avista’s distribution system. Backfeed into power lines could injure or kill a lineman working to get electricity restored.
- Use a generator only to run specific appliances and locate it outside so poisonous carbon monoxide fumes do not enter the home.
Reporting an outage
Customers who experience a power outage are encouraged to report it online or through their mobile device at www.avistautilities.com or by calling (800) 227-9187. Updated outage status information is also available on Avista’s Website, and information can be found on Avista’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/avistautilities) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/avistautilities) pages.
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