01/13/2021 | Press release | Archived content
Spokane, Wash. Jan. 13, 2021, 9:30 a.m.: Substantial and sustained winds that continue to blow across Idaho and Washington Wednesday morning are causing widespread outages for electric customers across the region. As of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, approximately 67,677 Avista electric customers are without power.
Outages began to occur on Avista's system at 4:00 a.m. with both transmission and distribution systems impacted. Winds are expected to continue through the late afternoon Wednesday. As the wind continues to blow, safety is our top priority. Significant tree damage and trees falling into lines and roadways presents challenging conditions for crews to complete outage assessment and restoration. As the wind stops blowing and it is safe to do so, Avista will continue to assess the extent of the damage to the electric system and restore power. Customers should be prepared for prolonged outages. Assessments may take 24 hours or more in some cases, due to the widespread damage. Estimated restoration times are currently unknown and will be updated as assessments are completed.
Avista is experiencing a large volume of phone calls, and customers should expect longer hold times. Avista's outage reporting channels online and through text message as well as the outage map are experiencing intermittent outages and delays, and we are working as quickly as possible to get these restored. We understand this is challenging and appreciate our customers' patience during this time.
Safety during an outage
We want our customers to stay safe. Customers should treat all power lines as if they are energized. Customers should stay away from any downed power lines, not attempt to remove limbs from downed or sagging power lines, and should not drive over power lines. If customers see a downed power line, they should call 911 immediately and then Avista at (800) 227-9187 to report its location.
Avista suggests customers take the following steps during an outage:
• Turn off all the appliances that were on before the power went out.
• Unplug electronic equipment, including computers.
• Leave a light or radio on as an alert when power has been restored.
• Help Avista crews working in a neighborhood know which homes have power by turning on the front porch light.
• Do not wire an emergency generator into a home's electrical system, unless there is a disconnect switch to separate generated power from Avista's distribution system. Backfeed into power lines could injure or kill a lineman working to get electricity restored.
• Use a generator only to run specific appliances and locate it outside so poisonous carbon monoxide fumes do not enter the home.
To restore power in an outage, we focus on restoring power to critical infrastructure first, such as transmission lines and substations, and emergency facilities like hospitals. Once critical customers are restored, crews then work to make repairs that will restore power along impacted distribution feeder lines to a larger number of customers. This will leave some customers without power while their neighbors have been restored. Avista crews will come back through to restore individual outages in neighborhoods, which means customers may see service people in their neighborhoods multiple times.
Avista crews will continue working as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power to all of our customers.
About Avista Utilities
Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 395,000 customers and natural gas to 364,000 customers in a service territory that covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.6 million. Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.myavista.com.
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