Nov. 20, 2015, 4:30 p.m.: We want to extend our great appreciation to our customers for their patience and support over the past few days and into the days ahead as we work to restore power to their homes and businesses as quickly and safely as possible. We are pleased that there have been no recorded accidents so far in the restoration process, and we urge everyone to continue to be safe when working or moving around downed power lines, equipment, trees and debris.
With the arrival of crews from the San Francisco Bay area utility Pacific Gas and Electric, as well as crews from NV Energy out of Reno, coupled with Avista and contractor crews, we will have 97 crews available to work on a rotating basis throughout the service territory. As power is restored in outlying areas, such as Othello and Grangeville and others, crews will travel to Spokane to provide assistance.
Work will be prioritized
Now that the backbone of our electric system (transmission) has been repaired, it’s essential the critical infrastructure and the most vulnerable customers have their power restored next. Avista and the City of Spokane worked together to identify and prioritize those customers who have a critical need for power. At the same time, we are working to repair distribution lines that will impact the largest groups of customers, then move to less densely populated parts of the service area.
The focus on work for today (Friday) is to repair 11 of the 30 damaged feeders that serve critical customers. These include health and human services such as hospitals, nursing homes, police and fire operations, along with city services like water and sewer.
· Once critical customers are restored, crews will then work to restore power to the most heavily populated areas.
· Avista has specifically identified areas where it can get larger blocks of customers energized. Those locations will be determined each day for the remainder of the outage.
· At the same time, tremendous progress is being made in outlying areas of Avista’s 30,000 mile service territory. As these areas are restored, these crews will be redeployed to the hardest hit areas of Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.
For ongoing information about outage status, please visit www.avistautilities.com
Safety during a power outage
Avista suggests customers take the following steps during an outage:
- 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. Back feed 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.
- 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.
- 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
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