Lines go out quickly - but 'increased potential for outages'
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- About 3,500 Pacific Power customers in Bend and Warm Springs lost power for a time Tuesday morning in unrelated outages tied to animals. But Pacific Power also said a changed, more sensitive setting for power lines, aimed at curbing fire risks, also mean raise the possibility of more, longer outages.
The initial outage in the southern part of Bend began shortly before 8 a.m., Senior Communications Specialist Simon Gutierrez said.
"Field crews began step restoration of customers at 8:44, and all customers had power restored at 10:27 a.m.," Gutierrez said. "The cause of the outage is believed to be an animal or bird interfering with our equipment. (A total of) 2,554 customers were affected.
"For the outage in Warm Springs, the initial outage occurred at 8:28 am. Field crews began step restoration of customers at 10:19. Crews are continuing to patrol the lines and restore customers as they go. The cause of the outage is believed to be a blown transformer fuse caused by a bird. 1006 customers were affected."
"Equipment involved in both outages had been placed on more sensitive settings because of elevated wildfire risk in the area," Gutierrez said. "Pacific Power is placing some of its system equipment on more sensitive settings to mitigate the risk of ignition.
"This effort ensures that these lines are de-energized promptly in the event of a fault, which is commonly caused by animals, birds, or airborne debris coming into contact with our equipment.
"When these settings are in place, there is an increased potential for outages. Moreover, customers may experience longer-than-typical outages as our field crews work to patrol the lines for safety before restoring power.
"Throughout the year, Pacific Power’s team of meteorologists is constantly monitoring weather and fire conditions around its service area, including daily wildfire briefings to share the most up to date weather data with the company’s operational teams so they can make adjustments to the electric system and outage response based on the expected conditions.
"This allows the company to ensure the safety of communities using real-time actionable data," he said, adding: "Wildfire is a complex issue, and the threat of wildfire continues to grow dramatically in the West."