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OPALCO Crews Work Through the Night Restoring Power in Early December Storm

OPALCO experienced a major power outage on most of Orcas Island and Shaw Island that started at 6:30 PM on Sunday, December 6, 2015. The Sunday windstorm produced gusts reaching 60 miles an hour in the region. One of those major gusts blew down a large tree that hit our major transmission line along Indian Cove Road on Shaw Island. Seven transmission poles snapped at their bases and toppled towards the OPALCO submarine terminal at the end of the road. As of early Monday evening, best estimates on the restoration was Tuesday morning.

Ultimately, OPALCO dispatched crews, material and equipment from Lopez, San Juan and Orcas islands to repair the transmission lines. OPALCO line crews worked late into Sunday night, continuing well into Monday night and the wee hours of Tuesday to restore service.The outage affected approximately 3,000 members.

“I want to thank everyone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to assist us,” said GM Foster Hildreth, “including, but not limited to the Washington State ferry captain and crew who came back to the terminal to help us load our equipment on the ferry boats, the Orcas Village Store for well needed coffee and pizza, Hardy Schmidt, local equipment operator on Shaw, the OPALCO engineering staff members, and most importantly, our dedicated and professional field and line crew.”

This set of photos of the damage captures Nature’s force, and our crew’s heroic restoration efforts.

Downed Trees on Shaw IslandFallen polesHotstickingREplacement polesPrepping polesLine of polesHigh wire workCrew and equipment

    The best practice during a power outage is to unplug your electronics and sensitive equipment – or toggle off at the surge protector. Once power is restored, turn things on ONE at a time.
    Follow us on Twitter @orcaspower for real-time updates.