SPOKANE – Substantial and sustained winds that moved through the region Friday night and into Saturday morning caused widespread outages for thousands of electric customers. As of 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning, approximately 8,284 Avista electric customers are without power. The majority of these outages are in Avista’s Idaho service area.
Outages caused by the wind began to occur on Avista’s system at 10 p.m. Friday and continued throughout the night and into Saturday morning. Additional outage reports are expected Saturday morning as customers start their day and crews continue damage assessment.
The height of the storm was at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. At that time there were 252 incidents and 18,850 Avista electric customers without power. Since then, Avista crews have restored power to over 10,000 customers.
Avista’s electric system was impacted primarily by trees and branches falling into lines, while crews continue to encounter tree damage and downed power lines in their assessment and restoration efforts. All available Avista and contract crews, including helicopter support, are working as quickly and safely as possible throughout the day Saturday to continue to assess the remaining outages and restore power. Assessments for the remaining outages may take several hours, depending on the extent of the damage and the nature of the terrain crews must navigate. Estimated restoration times for those without power are expected to be available by noon on Saturday.
Customers can expect to see current outage numbers on the outage map at myavista.com/outage. Estimated restoration times will be updated on the outage map. Customers should be prepared for outages lasting into Sunday.
Avista is continuing to monitor the weather, as snow is expected in the coming days. Depending on the timing of the snow, additional outages may occur.
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.