Nov. 17, 2015, 8:30 p.m.: It is all-hands on deck for Avista crews and support staff in responding to outages that are occurring as high winds continue moving through the area. At this time, 161,459 customers are part of more than 3,300 different outage incidents reported, primarily in Spokane County. That represents 42 percent of Avista’s electric customers in Washington and Idaho. This is an historic storm for Avista, surpassing the outage numbers seen in the 1996 Ice Storm.
Because the storm continues to move through the region and assessment and crew safety are impacted by the ongoing severe winds, estimated restoration times are yet to be determined.
Avista is bringing crews into the Spokane area from less impacted areas in its service territory, as well as contract crews from the region. A clearer picture of the crew resources will come after the storm passes, with daylight and assessment of the extent of damage.
The priority for restoration will be to rebuild and repair transmission lines first, as they carry the largest amount of energy within the area, serving the greatest number of substations and customers. Then, crews will work to restore power to 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 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015
Remember to call Avista immediately at (800) 227-9187 to report the location of the downed power line.
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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