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January 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM

PSE recruits State Patrol to provide security while crews restore power

If you were wondering what that State Patrol guy was doing, parked all day in front of a Puget Sound Energy office, just call it a little security precaution.

All those crews restoring power to over 404,000 customers also meant there was plenty of good stuff for the taking.

“These are not lock-down facilities. We’ve got people who come here to pay their bills. Nobody has to show ID,” said Roger Thompson, PSE spokesman.

“You never know, somebody decides to put on a hardhat, and perhaps make off with a duffel bag of tools and radios.”

Thompson said the utility has hired off-duty State Patrol officers, and officers from other police agencies, during previous storms.

This time, he said, there are eight to 10 cops assigned to PSE offices in Olympia, Kent, and other sites in King, Pierce and Thurston counties.

“They sit by the entrance, just to show that they’re there,” said Thompson.

He said that 1,500 utility vehicles and crews from a dozen states have been working to get power back on.

“We’ve got people coming and going, and tens of millions of [dollars in] expensive equipment,” he said.

Thompson said that on a couple of occasions during this storm, thieves have targeted downed power lines for their valuable copper.

“Over the last couple of days, we’ve had people taking bolt cutters and reaching up as high as they could on the pole and cut the wire,” he said. “That’s terrifying. You don’t know if those lines are energized or not.”

Thompson said that some 12,000 customers were without power on Tuesday night, mostly in South King County and Thurston County. He said that PSE expected power to be restored to everyone sometime Wednesday.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter, Weather Beat | Topics: PSE, Seattle storm, wind

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