Back to Blog

Index of Fun Facts: BPA Planned Power Outage May 9, 2014

Thank you to the OPALCO operations and engineering staff who brought us through this mandatory Bonneville Power Administration county-wide outage! For most of us, this was a smooth and seamless operation. Thanks, also, to the handful of co-op members who were out of power a little longer. This rare transmission outage event gave us the opportunity to really test our system and we found a few weak links. Thank you for your patience and understanding while we addressed those issues; we all benefit from a stronger, more reliable system as a result!

Preparations:

  • 6 weeks to plan the county-wide outage event
  • 9 regional meetings to work out the logistics
  • 42 hours of labor (General Foreman-3, Line Foreman-3, Engineer) on May 8th to prepare for the May 9th outage

The Outage Event:

  • 16 OPALCO personnel working (Lineman-13, General Foreman-2, Dispatcher)
  • 4  Flaggers contracted for safety
  • 15 BPA personnel (Lopez-2, Fidalgo Substation-10, Custer Substation-2, Vancouver, WA-1 )
  • 96 OPALCO crew hours in the field (13 crew x 6 hours) doing maintenance and repair work

Results on OPALCO’s System:

  • 12 transmission poles cleaned and inspected
  • 7 miles of transmission line examined, maintained and tested
  • 6 transmission poles re-built with new insulators
  • 5 high-voltage switches cleaned and tested
  • 4 new distribution switches installed and tested
  • 1 hazardous tree trimmed
  • 14,000 (approximately) members out of power
  • 5 devices (out of 1,200+ total) failed upon restoraton of power (Lopez-2, San Juan-3)
  • 6,000 (approximate total) members restored by 6:15 am
  • 9,000 (approximate total) members restored by 6:30 am
  • 12,000 (approximate total) members restored by 7:00 am. Note: After 7:00 am,
    only Friday Harbor substation remained down, in part due to high system start-up loads.
  • All but 70 members restored by 8:00 am. This restoration delay was in part due to
    high system loads that needed to be managed to prevent a low voltage condition for the entire Island.
  • 18 hours of continuous work by 2 members of our Lopez Crew (Tim Savage and Kai Burleson), who worked from 11:00 pm May 8th until 5:00 PM May 9th – staying on duty
    to restore power to 44 members on Lopez. All other crews were released at 10:00 am
    May 9th.

You may also like...

Quick Fact: Rooftop Solar and Our Local Energy Future

Rooftop Solar and Our Local Energy Future Washington State is pushing hard to remove carbon emissions from our daily lives –  decommissioning coal plants and electrifying heating and transportation (including … Read more
island way

OPALCO ANNUAL MEETING FESTIVAL: APRIL 26, 3-6 pm

A NEW Member Appreciation Event Celebrating Local Power Get ready to rev up the excitement at the most electrifying event of the year – the ALL NEW OPALCO Annual Meeting … Read more
map showing land needed for solar arrays

Why Local Renewable Projects? Mainland Power Demand Will Soon Exceed Supply

OPALCO is Preparing for Mainland Rolling Blackouts Did you know the Northwest power grid almost crashed during the January 2024 cold snap? As the hydro system hit capacity, the region … Read more