PORTLAND, Ore. — The extent of the damage from a historic snow, ice and wind storm has significantly slowed the progress of PGE crews in getting the electricity back on for everyone.
Portland General Electric CEO Maria Pope said Monday that the repairs are only bringing about 10 customers back online at a time. There are still about 5,000 repairs needed system wide.
It has been a long haul for utility crews and the hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Oregon that were without power, some more than a week. Crews have been working as long as 36 hours straight to repair equipment around-the-clock. About 3,000 people have been working to restore power.
Power has been restored to more than 665,000 customers. As of 8:30am on Tuesday, under 10,000 PGE customers remain without power including 4,900 in Clackamas County and 4,200 in Marion County.
Ice building up on power lines and trees falling into wires have been the biggest problems. The utility says “extremely dangerous conditions” kept crews out of the hardest hit areas for the first 48 hours of the storm and those hazards slowed their progress. PGE says this was the worst storm the area has seen in 40 years and call the damage “unprecedented and historic”, ten times as bad as the winds and wildfires early last September.
Over 40 transmission lines and 390 miles of lines have been repaired with 719,000 feet of new wire or cable being strung. There were more than 9,400 downed wires. There was extensive damage to 20 substations and more than 240 distribution feeders.
The utility has launched a new resource on its website to give customers more information including when crews will be in their neighborhood. They have prioritized public safety and infrastructure repairs over residential areas and say the ever-changing conditions forced them to even further prioritize their restoration efforts. PGE offers these tips in the event of a power outage.
Pacific Power restored service to all of its customers over this past weekend, completing restoration efforts in the mid-Willamette Valley. The utility had upwards of 80,000 customers without power in the aftermath of the storms. More than 400 crew members and contractors from other regional utilities worked 24/7 to restore power.