Outages across NW Oregon stretch into Saturday, thousands still without power

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Portland General Electric continues to work to restore power after severe weather knocked out power across the region.

As of 7:22 a.m. Saturday, PGE reported that approximately 52,000 customers are still without power. PGE said crews had faced many obstacles, including the “discovery of both more extensive damage to our equipment than expected as well as previously assessed damage, as we were finally able to access additional areas.”

According to the PGE outage map, these were the numbers of affected customers by the county at 12:00 p.m.

  • Clackamas: 20,658
  • Marion: 15,515
  • Multnomah: 2,941
  • Polk: 614
  • Washington: 37
  • Yamhill: 1,574

Additionally, about 1,676 Pacific Power customers in Oregon were without service as of 12:00 a.m., according to its outage map.

“We know how frustrating this is, as we’ve discovered even more challenges to getting our repair and restoration work done along the way,” Larry Bekkedahl, Vice President Grid Architecture Integration and System Operations, said. “Our 350 crews and the staff who support them will not stop working night and day until we have the power back on for every single customer.”

PGE said the snow, ice and wind has resulted in catastrophic damage to their system. The most destructive freezing rain event in 40 years coating wires with an inch or more of ice which added 1,000 pounds of extra weight to each span of wire, pole to pole.

During the first 48 hours, PGE said it was unable to safely send crews to the hardest-hit areas due to extremely dangerous conditions as a result of falling trees and limbs.

The impact of the ice storm on PGE’s system meant:

To date, one-quarter of our customers impacted by this outage have had multiple outages – meaning, as we’ve restored and move on, we’ve had to go back and repeat the repair work.

As we neared completion of transmission lines to the areas reaching from Colton to North Marion to Salem to Oregon City, additional falling trees and limbs into those lines meant that the restoration efforts took a significant step backwards – delaying restoration to 25 the associated substations.

Significant access issues due to downed trees along the roadways.

Quick statistics on work to be done:

Currently without power:

  • 52,000
  • Transmission lines out: 4
  • Feeders out: 2

Quick statistics on work completed:

  • Customers restored: PGE has restored power to approximately 655,000 customers since the start of the storm.
  • Transmission lines repaired: 37
  • Substations repaired: 20
  • Feeders repaired: 241
  • New wire/cable issued: Approximately 70 miles
  • Transmission line miles restored: Approximately 340 miles
  • Transformers issued: 478
  • Poles issued: 428
  • Crossarms issued: 1,402

On Friday, Governor Kate Brown called the Oregon National Guard to go door-to-door in areas hardest hit by last weekend’s ice storm to make sure residents who have been without power for a week have enough food and water to survive.

MORE: FOX 12’s ongoing local winter storm coverage

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