Utilities in the West continue to restore power amid wildfires

At the time of publication, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) website noted that as of Sept. 1, there have been at least 14 named fires, including the Shackleford Fire, which began on Sept. 11 in Siskiyou County, affecting 50 acres

Pacific Power on Sept. 11 said that it continues to work throughout Oregon and Northern California as part of a regional response to fires that are still raging in the area.

The company said that as of noon on Sept. 11, about 12,500 of its customers remained without power in the region, down from 60,000 earlier in the week. Pacific Power said that current information from fire authorities indicates that a number of customers may remain without power for an extended period in some locations until active fires have been contained and Pacific Power crews are allowed access to begin restoration.

Forecasts indicated that weather would remain favorable on Sept. 11 through the weekend for most locations, with rain possible by Sept. 14, Pacific Power said. The company noted that more than 340 personnel are deployed throughout the hardest hit areas, and that it is using helicopters to survey damage in advance of being able to enter areas.

The company said that customers may reach out to its customer care agents by phone at 1-888-221-7070. Pacific Power also said that customers should be prepared for prolonged power outages by having on hand adequate food, water, and backup batteries. Additionally, the company, which is is a division of PacifiCorp and part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, provided information on community shelter locations.

At the time of publication, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) website noted that as of Sept. 1, there have been at least 14 named fires, including the Shackleford Fire, which began on Sept. 11 in Siskiyou County, affecting 50 acres.

CNN on Sept. 11 reported that at least 20 people in California have died due to the wildfires from mid-August through the morning of Sept. 11, with at least four others in Oregon and Washington recently dying due to the wildfires.

Another utility working on restoring power to customers is Portland General Electric (PGE), which on Sept. 10 said that since “the onset of the historic windstorm and high-risk wildfire conditions began on” Sept. 7, it has proactively cut power to eight different high-risk fire areas, in addition to the public safety power shutoff in the Mt. Hood corridor.

The company said that those actions helped clear the path for emergency responders to fight wildfires. PGE also noted that it has restored service to more than 212,000 of its customers.

The company said that it would begin restoration on Sept. 11 in the area near Mt. Hood where it implemented a public safety power outage, with power expected to remain out throughout the weekend and, for some customers, into the week of Sept. 14.

PGE said that more than 425 PGE, contract, and mutual aid crew members were working on Sept. 10, along with hundreds of support personnel to continue restoring power and fixing downed power lines. About 30,000 customers remained without power on Sept. 10, partially as a result of the storm, and partially due to two new significant outages related to vehicles hitting power poles early on Sept. 10.

The company urged everyone to stay away from any downed utility lines, and to report any downed lines or power outages by calling 503-464-7777 (Portland) or 800-544-1795. PGE also said that more information can be found on its website at portlandgeneral.com/wildfire.

Similarly, PG&E Corporation subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric on Sept. 10 said that it had restored power to essentially all customers who can receive service and were impacted by the public safety power shutoff (PSPS) event, which started on Sept. 7 and affected nearly 172,000 customers in 22 counties.

PG&E said that once the severe weather subsided and the weather “all clear” was given, its crews began patrols on the ground early on Sept. 10 to inspect more than 9,880 miles of transmission and distribution power lines for damage or hazards.

The company said that it will submit a report detailing damages from the severe weather conditions to the California Public Utilities Commission within 10 days of the completion of the PSPS.

The California ISO on Sept. 7 said that it was monitoring several serious wildfires throughout the state threatening power lines. The ISO, which issued a statewide Flex Alert on Sept. 7 due to a heatwave, said that consumers can help stretch electricity supplies by shifting energy use to morning and nighttime hours.

 

 

 

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About Corina Rivera-Linares 2981 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.