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!


  • 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...


Member Story: A New Energy Efficiency Leader in the Heart of Eastsound

There’s a new building on the block. Right in the middle of Main Street in Eastsound on Orcas Island, the new building that houses the Windemere Real Estate office and … Read more
surge protector

Quick Fact: Surge Protection

In the electric industry, power surges are unavoidable. However, just like with home security systems, there are things we can do to protect us from surges, though never fully. The … Read more
Federal IRA program

How to get Federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) $$$ Working for You

Island Way Workshop: September 6 @ 5 pm via Zoom The new federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides billions in funding to help Americans prepare for a more affordable energy … Read more