Nov. 18, 2015, 10:00 a.m.: Daylight is helping Avista more fully assess the extent of damage to its transmission and distribution system and prioritize resources as it continues to restore power following a historic wind storm that blew through the Inland Northwest yesterday. The near hurricane-force winds left more than 142,000 Avista customers are without power at this hour. The majority of the 3,400 outage incidents are in Spokane County. That represents 37 percent of Avista’s electric customers in Washington and Idaho and surpasses the outage numbers seen in the 1996 Ice Storm.
Here’s how restoration efforts will proceed:
- First assessment crews must assess the damage at each incident location. Avista has 25 assessment teams in the field today. There are nearly 2,400 incidents in Spokane alone.
- Each assessment can take approximately one hour to get on location to physically inspect the situation to see what is damaged or broken and determine what equipment and materials are necessary to make repairs.
- Based on the assessment, a line crew with the appropriate skills, materials and equipment can then be dispatched to make the repairs.
Restoration efforts will be prioritized:
- Major transmission lines in Spokane are top priority because they carry the largest amount of energy within the area, serving the greatest number of substations and customers.
- Substations are also a critical foundation. They feed power to multiple distribution lines that carry power to neighborhoods and businesses.
- 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 safely be re-energized.
- Assessment teams and crews will focus on critical customers first – such as those entities that serve critical community infrastructure, including hospitals, 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.
The next media update is planned for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.
Remember to call Avista immediately at (800) 227-9187 to report the location of the downed power line.
If you decide to go out and do any clean up of your personal property please make sure to assess your surroundings, look up. There may be high-voltage power lines overhead, or damaged equipment that is hidden in trees. This is dangerous and we want you to know what you need to know to avoid an accident.
Note where power lines are located before you get started on a project.
Assume all lines are energized.
Never bring ladders, long-handled tools or other items within 10 feet of an overhead power line.
Be careful when trimming trees. Stay at least 10 feet away from power lines.
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, including estimated restoration times, is also available on Avista’s Website, as well as on Avista’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/avistautilities) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/avistautilities).
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.
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