OPALCO shares details about Dec. 22 power outage

Posted December 27, 2022 at 9:13 am by

OPALCO sends along news about the cause of the first of two coun­ty-wide out­ages from last week.

Just before 5 p.m. on Thurs­day, Dec. 22, as tem­per­a­tures dipped into the low 20s, a main­land elec­tri­cal feed­er serv­ing San Juan Coun­ty lost pow­er. Short­ly after the pow­er went out, the Bon­neville Pow­er Admin­is­tra­tion team helped iden­ti­fy the cause of the out­age, which was faulty equip­ment on Puget Sound Energy’s trans­mis­sion sys­tem. OPALCO crews were called out and remained on stand­by for when the the main­land repairs were complete.

The OPALCO team wait­ed 8 hours for PSE crews to respond and com­plete the work on the main­land feed. Through­out the evening and into the wee hours of the morn­ing OPALCO was in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion with BPA and PSE to coor­di­nate the out­age work.

At 2:10 a.m., the main­land pow­er to the islands was re-ener­gized and OPALCO began to bring the pow­er to the island back up. They did this in phas­es to help pro­tect the sys­tem. When the pow­er goes out dur­ing such extreme tem­per­a­tures, the grid must be man­aged care­ful­ly because pick­ing up such a heavy load too quick­ly will over­load the system.

Because the main­land out­age last­ed so long and the out­side tem­per­a­tures remained so low, parts of the OPALCO sys­tem were over­loaded, result­ing in small­er neigh­bor­hood out­ages. About 1,200 meters remained with­out pow­er through the night as OPALCO crews worked to repair and restore the local­ized sys­tem out­ages. By Fri­day after­noon, most OPALCO mem­bers had their pow­er restored.

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