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PUD General Manager and Communications Director updated City Council on  recent power outages and special PUD services

During the February 22, 2021 City Council Meeting PUD General Manager Schuyler Burkhart and PUD Communications Director Ian Cope  provided information about the power outage  that occurred in Ocean Shores beginning on February 19, 2021. 


Who: about 10,000 customers lost power. All available PUD Line personnel worked the whole time. Great teamwork – Customers communicate with us, media shared our updates, PUD team worked together well: Operations Service Linemen and Crews, Customer Service (call takers), Dispatch, Ian, Supervisors.

What: snow late in the week, ice hit Friday and into Saturday. Ice loading strained hardware and wire, weak links broke. 3 transmission system outages and over 50 distribution system locations damaged. PUD replaced 5 poles, 7 transformers, and cleaned 2 oil spills.

Where: snow throughout GH County, ice along the coast Tokeland to Kalaloch, and a few miles inland.

When: affected Friday night through Sunday afternoon. Half were due to 3 transmission outages, which deenergize entire substations until switching or repair can reestablish service. Everyone was back in power in less than 48 hours.

Once all PUD customers were back on, 2 crews were sent to Vancouver to help with Clark Public Utilities’ restoration. “Mutual aid”

Overhead (OH) and underground (UG) utilities in Ocean Shores (OS):

  • The storm raised interest in undergrounding more of the PUD’s OH facilities in OS.
  • Longstanding OS ordinances require new development to have UG utilities.
  • For over 20 years, all new PUD power facilities in OS have been installed UG.
  • There are more UG PUD facilities in OS by % than anywhere else in GH County.
  • UG avoids some outage exposure (weather) but is "invisible" and still affected by salt air/corrosion and errant drivers, since there are lots of aboveground structures.
  • UG outages take longer to identify and fix, so there may be fewer outages but they can last longer.
  • UG is far more expensive than overhead – multiples, not a percentage.
  • UG can look better than poles and OH wire, but note that transmission lines that feed subs are all OH – down Dolphin Ave to Ocean Lake Way
  • Ice storms are rare, 1996 was last major one people at the PUD could recall.
  • The weaker overhead system components that an ice storm would break did and are now fixed and strengthened.
  • Overhead PUD facilities can be converted to UG on request with cost borne by City/requestor.
  • In general, if a UG conversion would cause problems for our customers or long term costs, we may not do it, even if a customer(s) would pay.

Mr. Burkhart  also spoke of special programs and services that the PUD offers relating to Pandemic Relief and a Low Income Program, below are links to more information regarding these services.

Special Services - Senior and Disabled Discount Program
Grays Harbor PUD Covid-19 Assistance Program

To view recorded City Council Meetings click here