Since a strong windstorm hit the Puget Sound region on Tuesday night, Snohomish County PUD crews have restored power to more than 200,000 customers and completed upwards of 1,200 separate restoration incidents. As of 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, approximately 970 PUD customers remain without power, most of them in the Lake Goodwin and Stanwood areas. Many of these customers have been without power for more than 60 hours.
“We appreciate the frustration some of our customers are experiencing, and we want them to know we understand,” said John Haarlow, Snohomish PUD CEO/GM. “Our PUD customers should know we are doing everything we can do to get their power on as quickly and safely as possible. Our crews continue to work through very challenging conditions, and we will not rest until every customer has their power restored.”
The PUD anticipates all but a few hundred customers to be restored by Saturday evening.
The extent of the damage across the PUD’s service area has extended repair times. The high winds from the storm combined with the saturated ground from extensive rain in the previous days created an environment in which trees and poles fell more easily. The damage is requiring PUD crews to replace poles and damaged equipment and wait for downed trees to be cleared to gain access to many jobs.
“We have sent many of our crews to the northern portion of the county and Camano Island to help with restoration efforts in that area,” said Aaron Janisko, who is overseeing storm restoration as the PUD Senior Manager of Regional Design and Construction Services. “We appreciate the patience our customers have shown throughout this storm.”
Early in the storm, the restoration efforts of PUD crews focused on the transmission system, delaying assessment on the utility’s distribution system. While early repairs brought up thousands of customers, as crews move down the priority list, completed work restored power to smaller numbers of customers.
“Most of the remaining outages are impacting smaller pockets of customers,” said Janisko. “That means time-consuming repairs bring up fewer customers and can seem like we’re slowing down. Be assured, our crews are working just as hard now as they did at the beginning of the storm.”
Access issues have been a challenge throughout the restoration process. Felled trees across roadways, poles down in hard-to-reach areas and even flooded areas have made it difficult and time consuming for crews to get to their jobs to make repairs.
The PUD wants to reinforce the message that customers should never attempt to repair wires or other electrical equipment themselves during an outage. Attempting to fix electrical lines is not only dangerous, it can be deadly. Customers should remain at least 30 feet away from downed power lines.
Mutual aid crews from across the state of Washington have traveled to Snohomish County and Camano Island to help with restoration efforts. Crews from Benton PUD, Okanogan PUD, Clallam PUD, Grays Harbor PUD, Douglas PUD and Grant PUD have all traveled to the Puget Sound to helped complete work and restore power to Snohomish PUD customers.