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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.

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