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Klickitat PUD January 2 through January 9 Outage Summary

by Jan 11, 2022

January 2-9 Power Outage Summary.

010822 Outage Phillip 2   Side-by-side
Klickitat PUD restored power to the final customers on Sunday, January 9, from outages that began early on January 2, 2022. Heavy snow, ice, rain and wind all contributed to major outages. Accumulated snow and ice, along with soft ground underneath, led to severe access issues and slowed restoration efforts.

“It’s been a wild few weeks of winter weather,” said Jim Smith, Klickitat PUD manager. “I want to thank our customers for the positive notes and support for our crews, and all the staff who have been supporting them, while they have worked on storm repairs over the last eight days. I would also like to thank the many county, city, emergency management and law enforcement employees that helped us.”

Outages started over the Christmas holidays as Klickitat County got its first major snow storm of the season. At first, crews were able to respond quickly and get power restored. During the week of January 2-9, KPUD had anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 of the 13,000 customers without power. At the height of the outages, there were about 4,000 customers without power for a 6 hour stretch on Friday.

Some areas were repaired, and then lost power again as additional snow and ice bent and broke more trees. Many of those customers were without power for three days, and about 50 customers were without power for six days.

“We know this is a long time without power, which means no heat, and can mean no water as well,” said Smith. “It is tough on those working to restore power as well, because they cannot get to everyone right away. They struggle to go home to try and get a few hours of sleep when customers are still without power, but we all know that no one can function for days without sleep, especially with the dangerous nature of the work they do, and the difficult conditions they face.”

Restoring power takes more than just the crews. Other PUD employees were clearing snow, patrolling power lines, switching power in the substations, delivering food, repairing broken vehicles, delivering materials, answering phones, scheduling and making difficult decisions on where crews would work next.

When making those decisions, the PUD looks at the size of each outage area, how long they have been without power, and the number of hours it will take to repair that specific outage.  During the eight days, the PUD logged more than 250 separate outages that each required repair. Some of those outages only caused a loss of power for a few customers, while others affected large areas of the county.

Smith added that the PUD wanted to thank customers, many of whom helped crews by plowing roads and driveways, providing valuable information on downed trees and lines, providing the PUD with updates on issues, and offering words of thanks when the crews were exhausted.